Several Tony Award-winners are teaming up to bring an adaptation of the 1988 musical "Lucky Stiff" to the screen. The show, based on Michael Butterworth's 1965 novel "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo," was written by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty and first performed at New York's Playwright's Horizons where it won the Richard Rogers Production Award before going on to London and hundreds of international productions. Ahrens & Flaherty went on to win the Tony for their musical "Ragtime" as well as two Academy Award nominations. Other notable credits include "Once On This Island" and "Seussical." Ahrens has adapted the play for the screen, while Flaherty and Ahrens have written additional songs.
Christopher Ashley, director of the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical "Memphis," directs the musical farce about a lonely English bachelor who stands to inherit a fortune from his recently deceased uncle. Unfortunately, this involves squiring his uncle's corpse on a whirlwind vacation to Monte Carlo, where several other parties have their eyes on the same inheritance. Ashley, who also serves as the Artistic Director of the La Jolla Playhouse, has enlisted veteran Broadway and Hollywood choreographer Joey Pizzi ("Burlesque,") to stage the film's dance numbers.
The cast so far includes Tony winners Jason Alexander (leading actor in a musical for "Jerome Robbins Broadway") and Nikki M. James (supporting actress in a musical for "Book of Mormon"), as well as British newcomer Dominic Marsh. Marsh portrays the hapless London bachelor, while James plays his romantic rival for the inheritance. Alexander plays a nerdy optometrist who's been sucked into the adventures by his impulsive near-sighted sister, portrayed by Pamela Shaw. Beyond his iconic stint on the hit TV show Seinfeld, Alexander is known for many leading roles on Broadway, including Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along," Kander & Ebb's "The Rink," and Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound." Two-time Tony nominee Jayne Houdyshell has also been cast in a supporting role.
The film is being produced by New Oz Productions' Victor Syrmis and Branded Pictures Entertainment's J. Todd Harris. Harris produced "Bottle Shock" and the new release "Crooked Arrows," and served as executive producer on the Oscar nominated "The Kids Are All Right." Mark Moran co-produces. The production is slated for mid-June in Southern California.
Photo credit: Peter James Zielinski