‘Larry Dallas’ sings out in ‘Waitress’ at the Fox

Richard Kline, who may be best known for playing the character Larry Dallas on the TV series ‘Three’s  Company’ (above) is now playing Joe in the musical  ‘Waitress,’ which comes to the Fox Theatre March 26. 


Although many fans of Jewish actor Richard Kline most remember him as Larry Dallas, the used-car salesman and playboy wannabe on the television series “Three’s Company” (1977-84), he has amassed a long resume of character roles in dozens of other TV shows and movies as well as onstage. 

Kline, 74, is featured in the upcoming musical “Waitress,” which runs from March 26-April 7 at the Fox Theatre. He plays Joe, the curmudgeonly owner of a diner where most of the action takes place in a part that is quite different from Larry Dallas.

“Joe is not a wisecracking used-car salesman like Larry,” Kline said. “Joe is a nice guy who encourages Jenna (played by Christine Dwyer) to enter a pie-baking contest. As the story continues, the audience learns about the many fine qualities of Joe and how he is important in advancing the storyline about Jenna.”

Kline also sings and shines in the song “Take It From an Old Man” in the second act of the musical. He is a classically trained singer who made his Broadway debut in the musical “City Of Angels” in 1990.

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“I always enjoy singing when given the opportunity and relish being cast in musicals,” he said.

Along with his work for eight seasons in “Three’s Company,” Kline has distinguished himself as an actor in films such as “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” (2007), and onstage as the “Wizard” in the musical “Wicked” (2010).  He also has appeared in dozens of TV series, ranging from the more recent “Blue Bloods” and “The Americans” to classics such as “Maude” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

“I was very lucky to work with two masters of comedy, Bea Arthur  (in ‘Maude’) and John Ritter (in ‘Three’s Company’),” Kline said.  “Working with both of them was like taking a graduate college course in comedy, especially because both Bea and John were masters at timing, and John was especially adept in physical comedy.”

The original run of “Three’s Company” ended in 1984, but the series has continued in reruns over the past 35 years on cable channels such as “TV Land.” 

“I had no idea that ‘Three’s Company’ would be this popular and that new generations of fans are still enjoy watching John and the many outstanding cast that we had in the series,” Kline  said.

Kline says he strongly identified with his portrayal of the journey of a Jewish man learning about his spiritual roots in the one man play “Boychik” (1995-97), which was performed off-Broadway as well as in many synagogues across the United States. Written by playwright Richard Krevolin, “Boychik” centers on the story of a middle-age son (Kline) who discovers his love of Judaism through memories of his father, a Talmudic scholar.

 “ ‘Boychik’ is especially moving because the character has to deal with issues involving his estrangement from his late father and to have closure on the relationship,” Kline said.

Kline started on tour with “Waitress” in the United States and Canada in December and will continue with it through  August. 

Raised in New York in Queens, Kline graduated from Northwestern University and  served in the Army during the Vietnam War. 

He has been married to Beverly Osgoode since 2002 and has one daughter, Colby, 34.