Nutty Professor Company Responds to Hamlisch's Death Prior to Tuesday Curtain


Prior to curtain Tuesday night, the company, cast and crew of The Nutty Professor, A New Musical-onstage at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center-issued the following statement, paying homage to the show's composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died Monday in Los Angeles:

"Six years ago, Marvin Hamlisch joined Jerry Lewis, Rupert Holmes, Ned McLeod and Michael Andrew to create a Broadway musical adaptation of the 1963 classic Jerry Lewis comedy, The Nutty Professor. Their collaboration and commitment to a Broadway dream delivered this special musical on stage in Nashville-where we are blessed with Marvin's joyous spirit through his wonderful music. 

"Our hearts are broken with the loss of this amazing and giving artist, truly one of the great composers of our time.  But our voices will always be lifted up through his songs that will live forever. Thank you Marvin, we are honored to be singing your songs, and your presence is always heartfelt in this company. We will be so very proud to perform for you tonight."

Earlier Tuesday, on the show's Facebook page the photo above was posted, along with this simple statement: "Thank you Marvin, for all you gave us. We are honored to be singing your songs." -Your Nutty Family

Tuesday night's performance, the first since Hamlisch's death was reported, was "difficult, but they pulled through," according to theatrical agent Robin Daugherty of Nashville, who was on hand for the performance at the James K. Polk Theatre.

Throughout the day, company members had taken to social media to express their shock and grief at the news of Hamlisch's death. Hamlisch, one of the most honored music composers in history, had been scheduled to fly to Nashville this week to see the show for the first time. He was last in Nashville at the start of the company's rehearsals in Music City.


Directed by Jerry Lewis, upon whose film the musical is based, The Nutty Professor features Hamlisch's score, with a libretto by Rupert Holmes. JoAnn M. Hunter is choreographer, and the production features set design by David Gallo, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, with dance arrangements by David Dabbon. Todd Ellison is music supervisor for the production and Ray Roderick is assistant director and creative coordinator.

Michael Andrew leads the cast as Professor Julius Kelp and Buddy Love, with Marissa McGowan cast as Stella Purdy. Other cast members include KLea Blackhurst, Mark Jacoby and Jamie Ross; ensemble members include Alex David, Meghan Glogower, Blair Goldberg, Autumn Guzzardi, Sarah Marie Jenkins, Allison Little, Charles MacEachern, Lindsay Moore, Ronnie Nelson, Patrick O'Neill, Dominique Plaisant, Carly Blake Sebouhian, Jason Sparks, Christopher Spaulding, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden, Kyle Vaughn and Ryan Worsing.

The Nutty Professor Orchestra, led by conductor Stephen Kummer, includes Jimmy Bowland, Matt Davich, Robby Shankle, Doug Moffett, Jennifer Kummer, Jeff Bailey, Steve Patrick, Barry Green, Paul Carrol Binkley, Bobby Brennan, Pat Coil, Ron Sorbo and Danny Young.



Nashville THEATER

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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