The first casting call has gone out for Nora Ephron’s play about the late New York Post reporter Mike McAlary. “Lucky Guy” will star Tom Hanks and be directed by George C. Wolfe. It’s unclear who will step in for Nora and make changes as the play rehearses, and I refuse to call her the “late Nora Ephron.” It sounds awful.
Anyway: the play will have a lot of New York press types as characters which will be very amusing. It’s an understatement to say Nora would have gotten a kick out of it seeing all these people on a stage. “Lucky Guy” is set for a winter opening. I like that Debby Krenek is going to be a character. She’ll be a fun one. Jimmy Breslin seems to be a minor character. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Here’s the play’s description, and the description of the characters, from the casting notice:
LUCKY GUY spans the period from 1985 1998 when the tabloid business in New York was in
its glory days. Small papers, big headlines. The city had become polarized between rich and
poor, black and white, criminals and cops. The crack epidemic was beginning, the murder rate
was at an all-time high. The city was loud, messy, chaotic and dangerous. The perfect place for a
young and hungry reporter to become a star.
[MIKE MCALARY] Irish-American. 40s. A successful columnist. Even as a kid he dreamt of
becoming the next Jimmy Breslin. Driven and fearless he will go to places in the city where even
the cops are afraid to go. Becomes addicted to the rush that getting “The Story” brings, likes the
media spotlight a little bit too much and in the process makes potentially career ending mistakes.
But ultimately his passion for telling the stories forged in the crucible that is New York turns him
into a great award winning columnist. (UNDERSTUDY ONLY)
[HAP HAIRSTON] African-American. 40s-50s. An editor, brilliant at inspiring reporters and
sharpening their copy. His combination of fierce intelligence, ordinariness and generosity allow
those around him to shine. He is one in a handful of minorities to break into a world historically
dominated by the Irish and he’s had to work ten times harder than the next guy to get there.
Comfortable with the controlled chaos of the newsroom.
[JOHN COTTER] Irish-American. 50s-60s. A managing editor. An old school newspaper man
who will do anything to get a good story. He loves the hard working, hard drinking culture of the
city newsroom and thrives on the competitive pressures of the tabloid wars, working, in the end,
for all three. He has a keen nose for a story and excellent instincts about writers. A great mentor
to Mike with the ability to push him to do the near impossible. A brilliant man who never eats and
never sleeps. He just drinks.
[EDDIE HAYES] Irish-American. 40s-50s. A lawyer. Grew up in a working class Irish
neighborhood in Queens. An ex-Bronx DA known for his relentless prosecution of murderers and
drug dealers, he is now a high flying lawyer in private practice with a taste for handmade suits,
headline grabbing cases and movie stars with big problems. But dont let the fancy suits and
pocket squares fool you. Scratch the surface and theres a tough New York street fighter more
than capable of taking care of himself and his friends.
[ALICE MCALARY] Italian-American. Mid-30s. A girl from Massapequa, Long Island. Smart,
pretty and funny. At ease with the tough guys in the newsroom who adore her in return. Tough
and a little salty, she can give as good as she gets. She is totally loyal to Mike and constantly
challenges him to be the best man and the best reporter that he can be. But her husband’s
success comes with a price tag. She is often alone in their house on Long Island while he works
the streets and bars of New York 24/7 for a story.
[MICHAEL DALY] Irish-American. A columnist at The Daily News. Late 30s-early 40s. As a
young reporter he is taken with the romance of the newspaper business. Spends a lot of time in
the trenches with Mike and teaches him the fine points of being a columnist.
[JIM DWYER] A columnist at Newsday. Irish-American born and bred in New York. Late 30s –
40s. While Mike is mixing with cops and gangsters he is covering the closing of the last 24 hour
hotdog stand in the subway. He watches with increasing frustration as Mike’s star rises. He is
smart with a slightly self-deprecating sense of humor.
[BOB DRURY] Irish-American. Mid 30searly 40s. A reporter. He is tall, good looking and
charismatic. He has spent his life working in the newspaper world, starting as a copy boy and
then fighting, alongside Mike, to escape a career as a sportswriter where he has no patience for
the dumb, narcissistic jocks he’s surrounded by. Has a legendary bar room brawl with Mike. This
role will most likely double with JOHN MILLER: Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at
the NYPD. 40’s. A former journalist turned Police Department PR guy. He has retained the hardnosed
edge of a reporter in his press conferences.
[LOUISE IMERMAN] A reporter. 30s. One of only a small handful of women that made it in to the
tough talking, booze and adrenaline driven, misogynist world of tabloid journalism. She’s
definitely “one of the boys.” She curses like a truck driver and holds her own at the bar. She’s in
the newsroom because she’s tough and talented but she doesnt hesitate to work the guys if
she thinks it will help her to get a story or meet a deadline. This role doubles with DEBBY
KRENEK: An editor at The Daily News. Texan. Initially a section editor she keeps her head down
and works hard. Everyone thinks she’ll run the paper one day. She is pragmatic and steady. As
genteel as she is tough. The voice of reason amidst the ongoing chaos of the newsroom. Fiercely
loyal to her staff. She does indeed become the first female Editor in Chief in the papers 79 year
history. This is a role for a character actress with range and comedic skill.
[JERRY NACHMAN] Jewish. Editor at The New York Post. 50s. A Brooklyn native, he has never
lost his passion for telling stories about his city. A smart guy who is all skill and no pretense. He is
a gifted newsman. Confident and tenacious, he always accomplishes what he sets out to do. A
lion in the business that he knows inside and out. This role will most likely double with STANLEY
JOYCE: Managing editor of The Daily News. A tough minded boss.
[ABNER LOUIMA] Haitian. 30s. A security guard at a sewage treatment plant. Physically delicate. A
thoughtful, quiet man. After trying to help break up a fight outside a Brooklyn nightclub he is arrested, beaten
and brutally assaulted by officers at the 70th Precinct. He brings his story to Mike, who goes on to win the
Pulitzer Prize for his exposé of Louima’s horrific attack.
[MALE ENSEMBLE] 20s-50s. “Good cops, Bad cops, Reporters, Columnists and Criminals.” A small
ensemble of character actors with great New York City texture and faces to play small as well as nondialogued
roles with likely understudy responsibilities to include DINO TORTORICI: 20’s. An Italian-
American kid from Yonkers whose girlfriend has died after taking cyanide tainted Tylenol. He becomes the
subject of Mike’s first headline story. BARTENDER: He will be the bartender at the various places the guys
go drinking. Sometimes Elaine’s, sometimes the Lion’s Head in the village, sometimes McGuire’s. JIMMY
BRESLIN: the legendary NYC Columnist and O’REGAN: 40s. A crooked cop.