Do producers really want to direct? Well, that would appear to be the case with Stewart F. Lane, the Broadway showman behind such productions as Thoroughly Modern Millie, 1776 and The Will Rogers Follies.
Lane will pilot two separate musicals in the New England region this year: the Fats Waller revue Ain't Misbehavin' at the Vineyard Playhouse in Martha's Vineyard; and the world premiere of a new musical by Douglas J. Cohen, The Gig, at the Lyric Theatre in Boston.
Lane started spreading his artistic wings a few years ago, when he directed the premiere of If It Was Easy..., a theatrical comedy he co-wrote with Ward Morehouse III. The show had a few regional stagings before opening and closing quickly Off Broadway in 2001. That comedy is being remounted at the Actors Theatre of Nantucket this summer. Performances end Aug. 18.
Lane jumped to Nantucket's neighboring island, Martha's Vineyard, to direct the Waller show. The revival began on July 11 and will last until July 28. The Playhouse is located at 10 Church Street. Call (508) 693-6450 for information.
The producer will sail back to the mainland for his final directing job of the year, as The Gig is presented at the Lyric Oct. 18-Nov. 16. The show is based on the 1985 movie of the same name about middle-aged jazz musicians who gather to play a week-long engagement at a Catskills resort. The playwright Frank D. Gilroy (The Subject Was Roses) wrote and directed the movie. Cohen's credits include No Way to Treat a Lady and Children's Letters to God.
The Lyric Stage Company is located at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA. For more information, call (617) 437-7172.
—By Robert Simonson