The little-known Mark Twain comedy “Is He Dead?” will live at the Lyceum Theater, where the play makes its Broadway bow in the fall.
Norbert Leo Butz, in his first Rialto stint since taking home a Tony for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” in 2005, stars in the production, which is helmed by Michael Blakemore.
Staging will be the first ever for the play, which Twain penned in 1898. Script remained unpublished and unperformed until it was found by a scholar in 2002.
Farcical comedy follows a group of artists who fake their mentor’s death in order make his paintings more valuable. Script for the production is adapted by David Ives (“All In the Timing”), who has tweaked the books of several tuners for the Encores! series.
Butz plays the artist who benefits from the greatly exaggerated rumors of his death. Further casting for the 11-thesp ensemble has not yet been set.
Blakemore (“Deuce,” “Copenhagen”) heads a creative team that includes set designer Peter J. Davison, costumer designer Martin Pakledinaz and lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski.
Bob Boyett, Roger Berlind and Daryl Roth produce the show, which begins previews Nov. 8 for a Nov. 29 opening.