The play takes its title from a staple vaudeville character, an effeminate homosexual male, who was featured in burlesque sketches and films of the era. The Nance is set during New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia's campaign to ban burlesque in the 1930's. The New York Times first reported the news about the project.
Beane, who also earned a Tony nomination for the book to Xanadu, told Playbill.com that he has set the play at the Irving Theatre, which is where Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre now stands in Union Square.
Beane recently held a reading of the play that featured Lane (Addams Family, The Producers) in the title role, along with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson star Benjamin Walker, Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent) and Lane's Tony Award-nominated Addams Family cast mate Kevin Chamberlin.
The New York Times also reports that Lincoln Center Theater may find a future life for the period play, according to an interview with artistic director Andre Bishop. "The play has lots of hilarious old routines in it with lots of innuendo and double-entendres," Bishop told the Times. "But the play is also painful, as times and moral judgments changed. I think it is wonderful."
Beane's most recent play, Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, premiered Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre last season. He is currently at work on the new pop musical Give It Up!, based on the Greek classic Lysistrata. He earned a Tony nomination for The Little Dog Laughed and has also penned As Bees in Honey Drown and Music from a Sparkling Planet.