Kennedy celebration welcomes Dennehy

By CASEY SEILER, Entertainment editor
First published: Saturday, April 7, 2007

Brian DennehyAlbany's Capital Repertory Theatre has added some high-wattage star power to the six-week celebration of the work of local author William Kennedy: Acclaimed stage and screen actor Brian Dennehy will take part in the theater's staged reading of Kennedy's play "Grand View" on Monday, May 7.

"I think it's terrific," said Kennedy, who first met Dennehy "in a saloon" in the mid-'80s. "He's a major American actor, and I think we're blessed to have him."

Grand View, by William KennedyKennedy's first full-length play, "Grand View" chronicles a political war between New York's governor and Albany political boss Patsy McCall, the role to be read by Dennehy. McCall, based on Albany Democratic boss Dan O'Connell, is a recurring character in several Kennedy novels, including the most recent, "Roscoe."

The play received its world premiere at Capital Rep in the spring of 1996.

One of the most honored stage actors of his generation, Dennehy has received two best actor Tony Awards: for his 1999 portrayal of Willy Loman in the 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" (the TV version earned Dennehy an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild prize), and in 2003 for playing the embittered patriarch James Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night."

Dennehy is on Broadway this spring, co-starring with Christopher Plummer in a revival of "Inherit the Wind" at the Lyceum Theatre.

The actor's extensive TV and film work includes the "Jack Reed" mystery telefilms as well as notable supporting roles in the features "First Blood," "Presumed Innocent," "Silverado" and "Romeo + Juliet."

Capital Rep's New York City-based casting director, Stephanie Klapper, approached Dennehy's agent about taking part in the reading.

The May 7 reading will be the highlight of "A Grand Evening," the finale to the "Celebration of William Kennedy" that includes related events from a number of the community's largest cultural organizations.

"A Grand Evening" begins at 5:30 p.m. with a tasting featuring food from several downtown Albany restaurants, include Blue 82, Cafe Capriccio, Envy Lounge, Jack's Oyster House, Marche and Ristorante Paradiso. After the 7 p.m. reading concludes, there will be a "Meet the Author & Cast" VIP reception with champagne and desserts.

Tickets to all three events are $100. On Monday, April 16, $50 tickets for the tasting and reading alone will go on sale -- if seats are available.

For more information, call Rebeca Torres at 462-4531, Ext. 236, or e-mail [email protected].