The ‘Three’s Company’ actor onstage in ‘Straight White Men’

It’s a safe bet that when you see or hear the name Richard Kline, memories of his eight years as Larry Dallas on “Company of Three,” will come flooding back. Now Kline returns to Westport Country Playhouse in comedic satire, “Straight White Men», on stage from May 24th to June 5th.

Directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos and written by young Jean Lee, the first Asian American writer in Playhouse history, the play is set on Christmas Eve. A father invited his three adult sons home for pranks, Chinese takeaways and gossip. Between male bonding rituals and conversations about money, work and love, they are forced to come to terms with their own identity.

Kline plays Ed, the father, while Bill Army, Denver Milord and Nick Westrate play sons Jake, Matt and Drew respectively.

“It’s a homecoming for two of his three sons, as his eldest son, Matt, lives with him, but is a bit of a drift, making Xerox copies for the underdog,” Kline said. “Of the other two sons, one is a rich and successful banker and the other is a rich and successful author. There’s a dynamic between them and their Harvard-educated brother that doesn’t seem to fit in even at 40. .

The Westport Country Playhouse production of ‘Straight White Men’ centers on a widowed father and his three sons played by Denver Milord (left), Nick Westrate, Richard Kline and Bill Army.

Cynthia Astmann/ Contributing photo

What follows is a lot of humor and re-living of childhoods, and a bit of drama about why this third sibling is the way he is.

“The play is a daring, exuberant and very funny comedy – then towards the end it turns into a surprising dramatic punch that proves to be both powerful and moving,” Lamos said in a press release. “I’ve wanted to bring it to the Playhouse stage since it premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company in 2017.”

The play reunites Kline and Lamos, who were classmates at Northwestern University.

“I hadn’t seen him for many years before I did the show at the Playhouse about five years ago, but he didn’t direct that,” Kline said. “But it was the first time I had seen him since 1967, and I was thrilled to hear that he would be directing this one. I knew him as a terrific actor, but he became very remarkable as a director, and together we take a trip down memory lane.

Kline shared that he’s still recognized for his role on “Three’s Company,” and people often talk to him and ask him questions about the show, whether in person or on social media.

“The fact that the show is still airing is amazing to me since the last airing was in 1984, so it’s crazy,” he said. “I get photo requests all the time and it’s nice to meet people and share memories of the show. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with John Ritter, which was amazing. Plus, being on a show for eight years is an actor’s dream.

In 2015, the Westport Country Playhouse staged "And a nightingale sang" with Richard Kline (left), Sean Cullen, Jenny Leona, John Skelley;  seated, Deirdre Madigan, Matthew Greer, Brenda Meaney and director David Kennedy.

In 2015 the Westport Country Playhouse staged “And a Nightingale Sang” starring Richard Kline (left), Sean Cullen, Jenny Leona, John Skelley; seated, Deirdre Madigan, Matthew Greer, Brenda Meaney and director David Kennedy.

Photo added

In addition to working on Broadway in “Waitress,” “November” and “City of Angels,” Kline toured as the wizard with national company “Wicked” and did numerous regional shows, including her previous Westport role. from Country Playhouse in “And a Nightingale Sang” in 2015. After “Three’s Company”, he appeared in several television shows, including his current recurring role as Judge Angioli in “Blue Bloods”.

“I’ve had a very varied career in television and theater, so I feel very lucky in that regard,” Kline said. “When people ask me if I prefer one over the other, my first response is always ‘I prefer an income’, but the second response is ‘I really like live theatre’.”

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