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James Earl Jones Returning to Broadway in 'You Can't Take It With You'

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Apr 24, 2014 09:38 PM EDT

James Earl Jones is overdue for a Tony Award. His return to Broadway in an upcoming revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's You Can't Take It With You seems the perfect opportunity. Not to put any pressure on the man. Or anything.

He won his first in 1969 for his portrayal of a fictionalized version of boxer Jack Johnson in Howard Sackler's The Great White Hope opposite Jane Alexander. He took home another Tony Award in 1987 for August Wilson's Fences.

It's 2014 already. Come on.

Moss Hart's You Can't Take It With You seems especially apropos just now, with the recent opening of Act One, a biographical play about Hart's start in the Broadway biz. Though the reviews haven't been great, the mere presence of the play has brought Hart back into public consciousness.

Hart wrote both You Can't Take It With You and The Man Who Came To Dinner with Kaufman in the 1930s. He continued to write while embarking on a successful career as a director. His biggest success, My Fair Lady, earned him a Best Director Tony Award.

Hart's 1959 book Act One: An Autobiography was seminally influential for many who aspired to big-time stage careers.

James Earl Jones is but one more name in a veritable who's-who of stage and screen legends associated with You Can't Take It With You. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play engendered an Oscar-winning 1938 film version directed by Frank Capra and starring Hollywood royalty including James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore and Ann Miller. A subsequent TV adaptation featured Art Carney, Jean Stapleton and Blythe Danner. Jason Robards starred in a 1983 Broadway revival, and the following year in a TV adaptation based on that production. But that was the last time the play appeared on Broadway.

James Earl Jones just missed another Tony Award for Gore Vidal's The Best Man a couple of years ago. Now's his chance. You heard it here first.

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Tagsbroadway, James Earl Jones, Moss Hart, Act One

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