Stacy Keach to Return After Illness to Hemingway Bio-Drama 'Pamplona'

Pamplona Production Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Liz Lauren

The single-character play's initial run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre was cut short on opening night last year when the actor suffered a mild heart attack.

The show must go on, even if it's a year later than originally planned.

Veteran stage and screen actor Stacy Keach will return to Chicago's Goodman Theatre this summer as Ernest Hemingway in Jim McGrath's solo play Pamplona.

Staged by Goodman artistic director Robert Falls, the production originally was scheduled for spring 2017. But after 11 preview performances, Keach fell ill on opening night with what was later diagnosed as a mild heart attack. Doctors ordered recuperation, and the remainder of the world-premiere engagement was canceled.

The Goodman announced Tuesday that the 76-year-old actor will return to the role this summer, with the rescheduled production running July 10-Aug. 19.

"I'm deeply grateful to Robert Falls, Goodman Theatre and the good people of Chicago for encouraging me and allowing me to 'get back on the horse,'" Keach said in a statement. "I'm so excited to be returning to Pamplona and the great city."

McGrath's play focuses on Hemingway five years after his career has peaked with a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, as the legendary writer is holed up in a Spanish hotel consumed by a looming deadline, a failing marriage, declining health and encroaching despair.

The production reunites Keach with Falls, who directed him in the title role of a celebrated 2006 production of King Lear that premiered at the Goodman before transferring to the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington.

Pamplona also marks a reunion for the actor with a real-life character he played in the 1988 miniseries Hemingway, for which he won a Golden Globe. Keach currently appears as Matt LeBlanc's father on the CBS sitcom Man With a Plan.