Cast and Creative Team Announced for “Lucky Guy” – Previews Begin April 28th
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR
A NEW MUSICAL COMEDY
BY WILLARD BECKHAM
LESLIE JORDAN, VARLA JEAN MERMAN (AKA JEFFERY ROBERSON)
KYLE DEAN MASSEY, JENN COLELLA,
JIM NEWMAN, SAVANNAH WISE SET TO STAR
THE LITTLE SHUBERT THEATRE
PREVIEWS BEGINS APRIL 28, 2011
OPENING NIGHT IS THURSDAY, MAY 19, 2011
TICKETS NOW ON SALE
New York, NY – (1/27/11) Avid Theatricals today announced the cast and creative team for the upcoming Off-Broadway premiere of Lucky Guy, a new musical comedy, written and directed by Willard Beckham. Performances will begin on Thursday, April 28, 2011 and continue through Sunday, July 24, 2011 at the Little Shubert Theatre (422 West 42nd Street, between 9th & Dyer Avenues). Opening night is set for Thursday, May 19, 2011. Lucky Guy will play a 12-week limited engagement.
Lucky Guy will star Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace,” My Trip Down the Pink Carpet), Varla Jean Merman (aka Jeffery Roberson) (Chicago, “Ugly Betty”), Kyle Dean Massey (Next To Normal, Wicked), Jenn Colella (Urban Cowboy, High Fidelity), Jim Newman (Curtains, Steel Pier) and Savannah Wise (Rock of Ages, Ragtime).
The Lucky Guy creative team includes Rob Bissinger (set design), Paul Miller (lighting design), William Ivey Long (costume design), Kurt Fischer (sound design), Todd Ellison (orchestrations and musical supervision), and A.C. Ciulla (choreography).
Welcome to Nashville – a town full of colorful characters all chasing after the very same dream: a smash hit record. To beat the odds and strike gold (or, better yet, platinum), it takes one great song, serious talent, or lots of luck – and preferably all three. Featuring an array of musical styles with salutes to Country, Broadway, Vaudeville, Bluegrass, Pop, and even Hawaiian, Lucky Guy weaves a tale of down-home dreamers and low-down schemers all willing to do whatever it takes to come out on top in the cut-throat world of Music City, USA.
Tickets are $44.00-$86.50 (Premium seating will also be available) and are now on sale through TeleCharge.com/212-239-6200.
Join Lucky Guy online at www.luckyguythemusical.com.
Leslie Jordan stepped off a Greyhound bus in 1982 from the hills of Tennessee, said “hello” to Hollywood and has never looked back. With hundreds of television shows, films and commercials to his credit, he has become a familiar face on the entertainment scene. Leslie is the 2006 Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his delicious portrayal of “Beverley Leslie” on “Will and Grace.” Television audiences will also remember him for his recurring roles on “Boston Legal,” “Ugly Betty,” and “Reba.” Feature film audiences will recognize Leslie from his performance as “Brother Boy” in Del Shores’ adaptation of his play “Sordid Lives’” with Olivia Newton-John, Delta Burke and Beau Bridges. He continued the role in “Sordid Lives… the Series” for the cable network Logo, which starred Rue McClanahan, Caroline Rhea and Bonnie Bedelia among others. He has a starring role in the upcoming Dreamworks feature film The Help based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett. On stage, Mr. Jordan won the Ovation Award, The Garland Award and The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of “Preston Leroy,” the aging, sodden barfly in Del Shores hit play Southern Baptist Sissies. In addition to acting, Mr. Jordan is also an author and writer. His book “My Trip Down the Pink Carpet” for Simon and Schuster formed the basis of a 90-minute one-man show, which had a 45 city book-signing/performance tour and a successful twelve-week Off-Broadway run in 2010. A dvd of the show shot during performances in Atlanta is now available. Next stop for “…Pink Carpet:” The Apollo Theater (London), January 26-February 19, 2011. In addition to My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Leslie’s autobiographical one-man shows Like a Dog on Linoleum, Full of Gin and Regret and From Whence I Came have been performed to audiences across the country. This past holiday season, he brought out his latest creation Deck Them Halls Y’All, a timeless piece created with the intention of being brought out every year to delight audiences. Mr. Jordan’s play Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far ran to sold-out houses in Los Angeles and had a successful seven month run Off-Broadway at the Playhouse on Van Dam in New York City. His screenplay Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel won the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival’s Production Grant Award, winning the competition from over 600 other scripts. Subsequently, it was made into an independent feature film distributed by Northern Arts Entertainment.
Varla Jean Merman (aka Jeffery Roberson) – New Orleans native Varla Jean Merman aka Jeffery Roberson just completed shooting the feature film Varla Jean and The Mushroomheads which he wrote, starred in and produced. He guest starred as Varla Jean on “Ugly Betty” last year in the final season of the show. He was also featured on Bravo’s “Project Runway Season 5” as the winning model for the show’s drag challenge. Jeff played the role of Mary Sunshine in the revival of Chicago on Broadway and also made his network television debut on “All My Children” in the recurring role of lady of the evening Rosemary Chicken. He shared the Outfest Film Festival “Best Actor” Award and the Aspen HBO Film Festival “Best Actress” Award with his costars Jack Plotnick and Clinton Leupp for his featured performance in the cult classic film Girls Will Be Girls (Sundance 2003) directed by Richard Day. Jeff also appeared at the Long Wharf Theatre in Hartford Stage's production of The Mystery of Irma Vep directed by Michael Wilson performing the roles originally made famous by Charles Ludlam. Next month he begins shooting the film sequel to the Girls Will Be Girls. Jeffery as Varla Jean has filled concert halls and cabarets across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Theater, London’s Soho Theatre, LA's Renberg Theatre, and San Francisco's own Victoria Theatre. He had the honor of being booked as the closing act of The Plush Room in 2007. Jeffery wrote and starred in the short “Improve Your History with Varla Jean: Stonewall,” for the launch of the MTV's television network Logo. He was the opening act at Vienna's LifeBall, Europe's largest fundraiser for AIDS research, where he performed on the same bill with Sharon Stone and Catherine Deneuve. Other film and TV credits include HBO's “Dragtime,” E!'s “Fashion Emergency,” “E! Goes to Cannes,” MTV's “True Life: Mardi Gras,” and “Francesca Page with Rossy DePalma.” Jeffery has appeared in many TWEED Fraktured Classiks productions in New York City, including The Mailman Always Comes Twice, Screen Door and CAGED! with Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers and Isabella Rossellini, Lypsinka is Harriet Craig, The Miracle Worker (with Charles Busch) and Varla Jean Merman is The Bad Seedling. Jeffery appeared in a national tour of Shut Up Sweet Charlotte! (as director and star) in the fall of 2009. He has appeared as Varla Jean on Logo starring in shorts for “Drag History Month.” Recent engagements also include the title role in Auntie Mame in New Orleans at Southern Rep/Le Chat Noir. His most recent solo show Varla Jean’s The Loose Chanteuse will play in New York at Ars Nova from Feb 17th – 27th. For more info please visit www.varlaonline.com.
Kyle Dean Massey – Broadway: Next to Normal (Gabe), Wicked (Fiyero), Xanadu (Thalia). Off-Broadway: Altar Boyz (Matthew). Tours: Wicked (1st National); 42nd Street – North America and Japan (Billy Lawlor). TV: “Cupid” (ABC). Film: “Sex & The City 2.” Originally from Arkansas and a Missouri State graduate. www.kyledeanmassey.com.
Jenn Colella has starred on Broadway in High Fidelity and Urban Cowboy (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, Outstanding Leading Actress). Off-Broadway: Title role in Beebo Brinker Chronicles (Lily Tomlin-producer), Don’t Quit Your Night Job, and Slut. Favorite regional credits: Amelia Earhart, Take Flight (McCarter); Hedda Hopper, Limelight (La Jolla), Annie Oakley, Annie Get Your Gun (PCLO); Georgie, The Full Monty (Paper Mill, with Elaine Stritch); Peter Pan, Peter Pan (Sondheim PAC); Cleo, The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Old Globe–Twlya Tharp, director); Daisy Hilton, Sideshow (Kennedy Center). Television: “Sondheim! The Birthday Concert at Lincoln Center,” “All My Children,” “The Good Wife,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Rescue Me.” Film: Lay It Down For Good, Uncertainty (with Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Stand Up Comedy: Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Jenn proudly holds an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine.
Jim Newman – Broadway: Original companies of Curtains as Parson Tuck/Randy (cast album), Minnelli on Minnelli (cast album), Happy in Steel Pier (cast album), Sunset Boulevard and The Who's Tommy, as well as the workshops of Pure Country, Footloose and Urban Cowboy. 1st National Tours: Originated the starring roles of Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me Kate and Josh Baskin in Big!, also Levi in Joseph…Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond. Off-Broadway credits include: John Denver in Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver, George Bush/Osama Bin Laden in Newsical! and Millard in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Encores!). Regional credits include: Steve in Showboat (Signature Theatre), Rooster in Annie (MUNY), Jeff in The Pavillion (The Penguin Rep) and the Leading Player in Pippin (Paper Mill Playhouse). Television: Guest appearances on “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Hope and Faith,” “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” “The View,” and “The Rosie O'Donnell Show.” Film: Out of Sync with L.L. Cool J and The Big Gay Musical.
Savannah Wise – Broadway: Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), Rock of Ages (Sherrie), Les Misérables. Other favorites include Happy Days (Joannie), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Annie Get Your Gun (Winnie Tate), Disney’s High School Musical. Television: “Gossip Girl,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Rescue Me.”
Willard Beckham (Writer & Director) is a native of Hominy, Oklahoma and is honored to have received a special commendation from his home state recognizing his achievements in musical theatre. A graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Beckham made his debut as a composer/lyricist at Carnegie Hall. He was then commissioned to write the first musical comedy ever produced in Korea, Magic in the Mirror, directed by Baayork Lee. As a performer, he got his big break touring in the first and second national companies of No, No, Nanette performing with such luminaries as Don Ameche, Evelyn Keyes, June Allyson, Ann B. Davis and wound up back in New York “playing the Palace” hoofing in the chorus behind Carol Channing in Lorelei. Mr. Beckham then went on to originate two leading roles on Broadway: Geoffrey in Something’s Afoot (co-starring Gary Beach) and Richard Tidewell in The Utter Glory of Morrisey Hall with Celeste Holm. After taking a short break of 20 years or so, he returned to the New York stage in his own one man musical Me, Myself and I. He is most proud, however, of his work on Lucky Guy, which has earned him an ASCAP Special Award for Musical Theatre.