MILLBURN, NJ — A 1970s television playboy will be trading acting chops alongside crooner Harry Connick Jr. in a sold-out show at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
West Orange resident Richard Kline, most remembered as the lovable lothario Larry Dallas on "Three's Company," is hitting the stage once again, but this time in the role of a conman.
The Paper Mill production of “The Sting” is set in 1930s Chicago about “cons and capers” and is based on the Oscar-winning 1974 film of the same name. Kline, a West Orange resident since 2005, will perform at the Millburn playhouse through the end of the month.
“I am primarily a stage actor,” said Kline, who had his first taste of the stage as a middle-schooler in Queens, NY.
The actor, who said he favors theater, has appeared in more than 100 episodes of “Three’s Company” and on dozens of other TV shows like “The Love Boat,” “NYPD Blue,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Married...With Children.”
Before he was on the small screen, Kline performed for five years on the stage in the Northeast before he moved to Los Angeles to be on TV.
Kline has worked in show business for more than five decades, but said he still gets nervous auditioning for work. That nervousness includes his most recent audition for “The Sting,” he said.
“It disappears the moment you walk through that door [to the audition],” said Klein. “But, I still get butterflies.”
Kline and his wife, Beverly, moved from Los Angeles to West Orange in 2005 following the suggestion of other famous friends, whom he did not name. His requirements: quiet and close to New York City.
His home, a modest split-level, is decorated nicely with an expansive view of the South Mountain, is situated on a quiet street near the Essex County Zoo. A bus stop within walking distance takes him directly into the city, where he teaches acting on Monday nights at the Producers Club Theaters on 44th and 9th.
The classes keep him busy while he’s not preparing for or starring in a play, he said.
While Kline’s neighbors know of his famous past, they have yet to “come and knock on his door,” he said with a chuckle, a quip to the line of the theme song to “Three’s Company.”
“They are cool,” he said of his neighbors respecting his privacy. “They don’t mention it unless I bring it up, and then it’s like the floodgates open.”
Those who haven’t scored tickets to the sold-out production might still be able to run into Kline at some of his favorite local spots: reading at the West Orange Library, dining at the Highlawn Pavilion or enjoying the Orange Reservoir.
"The Sting" is currently running at the Paper Mill Playhouse through April 29.