Len Cariou Returns To Long Wharf Stage

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Mention the name Len Cariou and Broadway fans sit up respectfully. The Tony Award winner’s career has spanned more than 50 years and includes playing opposite Lauren Bacall in 1970’s Applause and starring in A Little Night Music and the original title role in Sweeney Todd. But Cariou may have his largest fan base because of his role as Henry Reagan in TV’s Blue Bloods. The series, which was recently renewed for a 10th season, is about a family of New York City cops in which he plays a former NYPD beat cop who rose through the ranks to police commissioner.

Cariou, who turns 80 in September, is once again hitting the boards — and the road — this time to spotlight his Broadway roots and his Shakespearean roles. Cariou, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, also starred in some American classics, too — such as Eugene O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet.That production was presented in 1992 at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre, where he will bring his solo show Broadway & The Bard on July 13.

“I started with Shakespeare but lots of folks only know me from Blue Bloods,” says Cariou, whose show is an 80-minute melding of Shakespearean soliloquies and American musical comedy numbers.

Connecticut audiences may also recall the actor, who in 1969 played in Much Ado About Nothing, The Three Sisters and Henry V at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford under the artistic direction of Michael Kahn. He’s also starred in other Shakespearean productions of OthelloMeasure for Measure and King Lear — the latter role twice. “It was the bear of all time, even when I was 35, when I first did it.”

The thought of bringing his musical theater world and his work with the Bard together had been in mind for years. Cariou calls the show “a kind of musical memoir of my career, but it’s more of a theater piece than a cabaret show.”

And if a producer is inspired to cast him in one more Shakespeare show?

“I wouldn’t mind doing The Tempest again,” he says.