It’s a passion project for Hayes, who said he’s wanted to play Levant for a decade. In its first theater venture, Hazy Mills, the production company (“Hot in Cleveland,” “Grimm”) the actor-producer formed with Todd Milliner, will develop the work with Beth Williams of Grove Entertainment and Barbara Whitman Prods.
Williams and Grove are behind the upcoming Broadway musical “Tuck Everlasting,” while Whitman is fresh off winning a Tony as one of the lead commercial producers of “Fun Home.” Williams previously worked with Hayes in her prior gig at Broadway Across America, which produced the 2010 revival of “Promises, Promises” in which the actor starred.
The new show will center on Levant, a frequent collaborator of George Gershwin’s in Hollywood and the composer of music for more than 20 films. As a performer, he was known as one of the foremost interpreters of the Gershwin songbook, and appeared in films including “An American in Paris” (currently on Broadway in a strong-selling stage adaptation) and “The Band Wagon.” The stage role of Levant is sure to call on Hayes’ skills at the piano, which he previously showed off for theater audiences when he hosted the 2010 Tony Awards.
No writer, director or timeline has yet been set for the project. In the meantime, Hayes will next appear onstage in the L.A. production of Broadway comedy “An Act of God.”