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Brian Dennehy venturing on slippery ground as Samuel Beckett's Krapp

December 18, 2009 |  5:30 am

BriandennehyAriMintz Brian Dennehy hasn’t been guilty of many on-stage slip-ups, having won best actor Tony Awards in 1999 and 2003 playing two of the greatest roles of 20th century drama, Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and James Tyrone opposite Vanessa Redgrave and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”

But Dennehy, 71, will slip on a banana peel every night -- as scripted -- in Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape.” The play opens next month at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, where he originated his turns as Loman and Tyrone.

Besides his solo turn as Krapp, the aging, frustrated and isolated author who spends much of the play listening and reacting to his younger self on tape, Dennehy will pull double-duty in an evening of one-acts. The first half is O’Neill’s “Hughie,” with Dennehy starring as Erie Smith, a gambler on the skids.

He premiered the O’Neill/Beckett pairing in 2008 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada; it’s expected to transfer to Broadway after a monthlong Goodman run starting Jan. 16. The Goodman’s artistic director, Robert Falls, who won a Tony directing Dennehy in “Salesman,” is staging “Hughie,” and the Toronto-based Jenniver Tarver directs “Krapp’s Last Tape.”

-- Mike Boehm


Attention is being paid

Photo: Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave play James and Mary Tyrone in the acclaimed Broadway production of "Long Day's Journey into Night." Credit: Ari Mintz / Newsday