World Premiere of Jerry Lewis-directed THE NUTTY PROFESSOR Kicks Off TPAC'S 2012-13 Season

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The Nutty Professor, the Jerry Lewis-helmed musical based on his successful film comedy, takes up residence at the James K. Polk Theatre in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center for a July 24-August 19 run, ahead of the production's anticipated November 15 opening on Broadway.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the comedian had revealed plans for the Broadway run during celebrations for his 86th birthday. The production, which had originally aimed for the 2010/11 season will star entertainer Michael Andrew, who was first revealed as the musical's lead by Lewis back in 2006 during the MDA telethon. 

Lewis will make his Broadway directorial debut, heading the creative team which also includes choreographer Kathleen Marshall. Based on the 1963 film that Lewis starred in and co-wrote, the musical will feature music by Academy Award, Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Marvin Hamlisch, with book and lyrics by multiple Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee Rupert Holmes.

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"I was born with show business in my blood and working on Broadway gets it coursing through my veins like no other place can. Marvin and Rupert have given one of my favorite and most enduring films The Nutty Professor a hilarious and gorgeous adaptation for Broadway and I could not be happier. Does this story sing and dance? You bet it does," Lewis says.

The announcement of The Nutty Professor's inclusion in TPAC's 2012/13 HCA/TriStar Broadway offerings was one of the highlights of Tuesday night's season announcement party in which TPAC president and CEO Kathleen O'Brien announced that Nashville will become "Musical City" for the upcoming season, which features touring companies of Anything Goes, Catch Me If You Can and the return to Nashville for a multi-week stand by Disney's The Lion King.

Anything Goes, starring Rachel York (who was last on the Jackson Hall stage as Cruella DeVille in 101 Dalmatians the Musical) recreates the Tony Award-winning revival that continues to pack the house at Lincoln Center. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, already represented on the TPAC schedule with The Nutty Professor, the Cole Porter musical will run October 23-28.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas returns for a November 13-18 pre-holiday season run, featuring the recent Broadway staging based upon the classic film musical.

White Christmas  shines with classic Berlin hits like "Blue Skies," "How Deep is the Ocean?" and, of course, the unforgettable title song. Irving Berlin's White Christmas tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain.

Catch Me If You Can takes to the Jackson Hall stage for a January 22-27 run is based on the DreamWorks film and the true story that inspired it. Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying, splashy Broadway musical that tells the stroy of Frank W. Abignale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forgEd Checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer-living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank's lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end... and finds something he never expected.

Catch Me If You Can was created by a Tony Award-winning "dream team," with a book by Terrence McNally (The Full Monty, Ragtime), a sscore by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray and TV's Smash), choreography by Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Legally Blonde) and directed by Jack O'Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

The appearance of Catch Me If You Can on the TPAC schedule comes as no surprise, given that the production has a number of cheerleaders among the members of TPAC's programming team, including O'Brien herself who listed it among her favorites of the 2010-11 Broadway season.

Traces, which "combines awe-inspiring acrobatics with infectious urban energy," comes to TPAC for a February 19-24 run.

"Fusing the traditions of circus with the energy of street performance, the artists of TRACES employ every trick in the book-from music, dance, and illustration to skateboarding, basketball, and high-risk acrobatics-to make a lasting impression," according to a press release.

Flashdance-The Musical, the stage musical based on the film of the same name, comes to TPAC's Jackson Hall for a March 19-24 run, and tells the story of "Alex Owens, a working-class girl from Pittsburgh with a dream of becoming a prefessional dancer. She works by day as a steel mill welder, and a bar dancer at night while aspiring to be accepted at a prestigious ballet acaemy. When Alex catches the eye of her boss Nick Hurley, their romance shows her the meaning of love and drives her ambition to pursue her dream."

Flashdance-The Musical features a score including the hit songs from the movie, all of which became Top Ten hits on the radio around the world including the Academy Award-winning title song "Flashdance-What a Feeling," "Maniac," "Gloria," "Manhunt" and "I Love Rock & Roll." In addition to those hits, 16 original songs have been written for the stage by Robbie Roth and Robert Cary. Flashdance-The Musical  features a book by Tom Hedley (co-writer of the original screenplay with Joe Eszterhas) and Robert Cary, music by Robbie Roth, lyrics by Robert Cary and Robbie Roth and direction and choreography by Sergio Trujillo(Jersey Boys, Memphis).

Disney's The Lion King, running May 7-June 2, one of Nashville's best-loved musicals, returns to TPAC for a second multi-week stand following its record-breaking 2006 engagement. Directed by Julie Taymor and featuring a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, the show features "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and "Circle of Life."

Based on Green Day's Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum album, American Idiot comes to Jackson Hall for a March 5-7 run, "boldly taking the American musical where it's never gone before," resulting in an experience Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called "thrilling, emotionally charged, and as moving as any Broadway musical I've seen this year!"

Featuring the hits "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "21 Guns," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Holiday" and the title track, American Idiot features the music of Green Day and the lyrics of its lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong, directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), choreography by Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Black Watch), music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal), and Tony Award winning set design by Christine Jones and lighting design by Kevin Adams.

Five-time 2009 Tony nominee Rock Of Ages comes to TPAC's Jackson Hall, playing April and 20, 2013, and featuring a mix of 28 rockin' 1980s tunes including "Don't Stop Believin'," "We Built This City," "The Final Countdown," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Here I Go Again," "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "I Want to Know What Love Is." In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA's most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 1980s.

For further details about the upcoming TPAC season and to buy tickets, go to www.tpac.org.

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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 oustanding 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.


 
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