Christopher Ashley Will Direct Film of Lucky Stiff, Starring Jason Alexander, Nikki M. James, Dominic Marsh, Jayne Houdyshell

News   Christopher Ashley Will Direct Film of Lucky Stiff, Starring Jason Alexander, Nikki M. James, Dominic Marsh, Jayne Houdyshell
 
Christopher Ashley, who helmed the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis, will direct the screen adaptation of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's 1988 musical Lucky Stiff.

Nikki M. James
Nikki M. James Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Ahrens has adapted the stage production for the screen, and she and Flaherty have written additional songs. Ashley, who also serves as the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, has enlisted choreographer Joey Pizzi ("Burlesque") to stage the film’s dance numbers.

The cast for the film will be headed by Tony winners Jason Alexander and Nikki M. James as well as British newcomer Dominic Marsh and two-time Tony nominee Jayne Houdyshell.

Lucky Stiff concerns an unassuming English shoe salesman who is forced to take the embalmed body of his recently-murdered Atlantic City uncle on a vacation to Monte Carlo. A windfall of $6 million is at stake.

Marsh, according to a press statement, "portrays the hapless London bachelor, while James plays his romantic rival for the inheritance. Alexander plays a nerdy optometrist who's been sucked into the adventures by his impulsive near-sighted sister, portrayed by Pamela Shaw."

Lucky Stiff premiered at Playwrights Horizons in April 1988 and was the first show of future Tony Award winners Ahrens and Flaherty to be produced outside a family-theatre arena (they had collaborated on a Theatreworks USA musical for kids). Ahrens penned book and lyrics, Flaherty the music, drawing on the Michael Butterworth novel, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo." Lucky Stiff was the recipient of a 1988 Richard Rodgers Production Award and 1990 Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning Ragtime, and Once on This Island and Seussical, plus Off-Broadway's A Man of No Importance and more.

The film is being produced by New Oz Productions’ Victor Syrmis and Branded Pictures Entertainment’s J. Todd Harris. Mark Moran co-produces. Filming is scheduled to begin in mid-June in Southern California.

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