‘The Nutty Professor’ makes world premiere in Nashville

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Nashville and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) will play host this summer to the historic world premiere of The Nutty Professor, a new musical comedy directed by the King of Comedy himself, Jerry Lewis.

The Broadway at TPAC Special Event will run from July 24 to August 19 in TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater. Featuring music by Oscar®, Emmy®, Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winner Marvin Hamlisch and a book and lyrics by three-time Tony® Award winner Rupert Holmes, The Nutty Professor is a musical treat for the whole family, based on the classic 1963 film in which Lewis starred and co-wrote.

Actor, singer, and entertainer Michael Andrew will star in this new production as Professor Julius Kelp. Andrew, who counts Lewis and the film as principal influences on his career, worked with executive producer Ned McLeod and Lewis to bring the production to the stage. Mac Pirkle, cofounder and former Artistic Director for Tennessee Repertory Theater, is also producing.

Inspired by the film and using elements of classic comedy, the creators of The Nutty Professor are working to redefine what an American musical comedy can be — funny with a fabulous score and characters that resonate with the audience.

“The film that I made in 1963 was so good that I decided to do a Broadway show. And there’s no better place to go to find out what you’ve got than Nashville. This musical will be spectacular for a couple of reasons. One, I’m directing it,” Lewis said with his signature sense of humor. “Two, I have Michael Andrew, who is one of the best talents to come down the pike in 50 years. And I’m surrounding him with one of a kind creative people, like Marvin Hamlisch, Rupert Holmes, and me.”

"Music is truly an international language and it has the ability to bring people together like nothing else…except comedy,” said Marvin Hamlisch, known for his work with A Chorus Line. “It’s a thrill to be working with Jerry Lewis, a true king of comedy, and bringing this classic story to life on Broadway with music."

"Jerry Lewis has been my hero from boyhood, not only as one of the most gifted entertainers of all time but also as one of the grand masters of movie-making,” said Rupert Holmes, writer of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. “To work with Jerry and the vivid cast of characters he created is a privilege and thrill beyond measure.”

“All Broadway shows start somewhere. With Nashville’s community of creative professionals and its passionate theatergoers, it’s the perfect place for this major event,” said TPAC President and CEO Kathleen O’Brien. “We’re excited to provide audiences the rare opportunity to be part of the creation of a Broadway musical before it opens in New York. As the production develops, audiences may see scenes, lines, or whole songs added or removed. Those seeing the show the first week and again the last week will see a real evolution of the production.”

Producers are planning to hold auditions in both New York City and in Nashville and hope to cast local actors in lead roles and in the ensemble. Local costuming and set craftsmen are also expected to be involved as the production is built and tested over the multi-week run.

Single tickets to The Nutty Professor are available by calling (615) 782-6560 or visiting www.tpac.org/broadway.