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April 10, 2007

By David Lefkowitz

When audiences open their stagebills for the Mint Theater Company's summer production...

The faces may not be familiar, but the names will certainly ring a bell when audiences open their stagebills for the Mint Theater Company's summer production of The Return of the Prodigal (May 23-July 8). That's because two of its cast members are the offspring of well-known parents.

Bradford Cover, a frequent off-Broadway presence (with one Broadway credit: the last I'm Not Rappaport revival), is the son of late actor Franklin Cover, best known for playing neighbor Tom Willis on TV's The Jeffersons. Co-star Tandy Cronyn, a 20-year veteran of stage and TV, is the daughter of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

Joining them in Prodigal will be a TV star in his own right: Richard Kline, who appeared as lascivious Larry in nearly a hundred episodes of Three's Company. Also in the cast are Leah Cumey, Robin Haynes, Roderick Hill, Kate Levy, W. Alan Nebelthau, Ceceilla Riddett and Margot White.

St. John Hankin's 1905 comedy tells of a charming young man who returns home after failing utterly in his career path. It's the second Hankin play staged by the Mint, which also produced his The Charity That Began at Home in 2002.

In 2002, the Drama Desk gave the Mint a special award for "unearthing, presenting and preserving forgotten plays of merit." Earlier this season, the Mint offered The Madras House by Hankin's contemporary, Harley Granville Barker ("contemporary" being a relative term; Granville-Barker lived until 1946, whereas the year Madras was penned, 1909, Hankin committed suicide at age 40). Hankin's The Two Mr. Wetherbys played on Broadway in 1906.