Lewis casts self as ‘Nutty’ director

Thesp to helm musical re-do of 'Professor'

LAS VEGAS — Jerry Lewis is returning to the legit boards in a new role: director.

Lewis plans to helm a new musical based on his 1963 film “The Nutty Professor.” He will not perform in the show.

With his financial backing in place for “Nutty Professor,” Lewis hopes to land on Broadway by October 2008. Lewis has cast Michael Andrews, an unknown who Lewis saw perform at a private function, in the title role.

Lewis said he would like the tuner to get a tryout in San Diego at the Old Globe Theater some time in 2007. An Old Globe spokeswoman said “Nutty” is currently not on their 2007-08 schedule.

Lewis directed, wrote and starred in the first “Nutty Professor” film. He is working with a team of writers on the book, but has not yet hired a composer or lyricist.

“You can’t reinvent the character,” Lewis said at a press conference at the Orleans hotel. “The dual role of Jekyll and Hyde made the film. If you’re looking to make it different, you’ll ruin it.”

For this production, he is not planning to use many special effects. “It takes away from the actors,” he said.

Lewis starred in the Broadway show “Damn Yankees” in 1995.

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