Note: Sly Fox is also the name of a 1980s pop music duo
Sly Fox is a comedic play by Larry Gelbart, based on Ben Jonson's Volpone (The Fox), updating the setting from Renaissance Venice to 19th century San Francisco, and changing the tone from satire to farce.
It premiered on Broadway December 14, 1976 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Directed by Arthur Penn, the play featured George C. Scott, Bob Dishy, Hector Elizondo, Jack Gilford, and Gretchen Wyler.
It was revived on April 1, 2004 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, again directed by Arthur Penn, featuring Richard Dreyfuss, Bob Dishy, Eric Stoltz, René Auberjonois, Professor Irwin Corey, Elizabeth Berkley, Rachel York, Peter Scolari, and Bronson Pinchot.
Like Volpone, and Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi, this is a story of a con-man who convinces others that he is near death, and turns their greed against them for his own gain.
Foxwell J. Sly has his assistant Simon Able spread the word that he is wealthy, dying, making a will, and might be moved to make a bequest if showered with gifts.
Able, though, would rather have the money for himself, and the intricate plotting of the two, and the schemes of those who would fleece Sly himself produce a farcical plot on which Gelbart's hangs his witticisms.