The role of Harry MacKafee is one in which the actor charged with playing the part has the potential to steal the show, as does the role of Albert’s mother Mae Peterson.
Paul Lynde played the part with great skill in the 1963 movie adaptation. George Wendt did a fairly convincing job in the 1995 television movie starring Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander.
However, the part has never had a true scenery chewer taking its humor to the limits. So why not Broadway darling Nathan Lane? It is tailor made for a man with Lane’s ability to light up the room with his presence.
Lane made his Broadway debut in 1982 opposite George C. Scott in a revival of Noel Coward’s ‘Present Laughter.’ After building a solid career over the years, Lane sprung to fame in a Tony-nominated performance as gambler Nathan Detroit in 1992’s ‘Guys and Dolls.’
Ironically Lane’s birth name was Joseph Lane, but when he went to sign up for the union Actors Equity that name was already taken so he chose the first name Nathan as a tribute to his all time favorite musical theater character: Nathan Detroit.
Although Lane has struggled to find a niche working in films, with the notable exceptions of ‘The Lion King,’ ‘The Producers,’ and ‘The Birdcage,’ he has maintained starring roles in multiple Broadway vehicles. A television movie of a live musical is a perfect fit for Lane and his unique talents. Under the right direction Lane could earn an Emmy nomination.