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Jerry Lewis to Direct Bway-Bound Nutty Professor Musical

Actor/comedian Jerry Lewis, who played the title role of The Nutty Professor in the popular 1963 film, now plans to stage it on Broadway.

According to USA Today, a musical will premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego (where Lewis has a houseboat) before landing on Broadway around October of 2008. Lewis will direct and The Michael Andrew Company will produce the musical. Andrew, a comedian and singer who leads the Atomic Big Band, is also set to star in The Nutty Professor. His company purchased the rights to musicalize the property in March.

Lewis originally starred as nerdy Professor Julius Kelp, who with the aid of a potion, finds himself in the more physically attractive body of Buddy Love. Lewis, who also directed the film, co-starred with Stella Stevens, Kathleen Freeman and Del Moore, among others. It was remade into a 1996 hit with Eddie Murphy; that film led to the sequel The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps.

"I had an awful lot of inquiries about it for years, and I never really bothered to pay much attention to it," stated Lewis. "I saw this kid (Andrew) perform, and he wanted very much to do that, and he had money. I said, 'With those pockets, we'll give it a shot.'"

Lewis appeared on Broadway as Mr. Applegate in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees; he also played that role on the road. A comedic star for over half a century and for a decade the performing partner of Dean Martin, his many film credits include My Friend Irma, Scared Stiff, Hollywood or Bust, The Geisha Boy, Cinderfella, The Ladies Man, The Family Jewels, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Mr. Saturday Night and Funny Bones. Although he has suffered from the lung ailment pulmonary fibrosis for many years, he is planning to perform in Las Vegas for four shows in July.

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