Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien (The Coast of Utopia, Hairspray), who will direct, has been developing the 1930s-set piece with Beane and Lane over the past few years. It 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 '30s.
"It is a play about the comfort of self-loathing, it is about the pain that makes comedy funny," Beane told Playbill.com, adding, "Oh and the girls take their clothing off so straight men can come and have a nice time."
Lane, a Tony Award winner for The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, will star in the central role of Chauncey Miles, a homosexual burlesque headliner. The Nance will officially open April 15, 2013. Additional casting will be announced.
Beane also told Playbill.com, "America has the greatest knack for immediately forgetting any of its unattractive history the second we've moved on. As astounding progress is being made daily for Gay folks everywhere in America, I just wanted to take an evening and remind us all where we come from. And teach the younger gay kids what has come before them."
According to LCT, "A nance, according to Webster's Dictionary, is 'an effeminate or homosexual man.' In the world of 1930s burlesque, a nance was a wildly popular character, a stereotypically camp homosexual man, most times played by a straight performer. In The Nance, playwright Douglas Carter Beane tells the story of Chauncey Miles, a headline nance performer in New York burlesque, who also happens to be a homosexual. Integrating burlesque sketches into his drama, Beane paints, with humor and pathos, the portrait of a homosexual man, living and working in the secretive and dangerous gay world of 1930s New York, whose outrageous antics on the burlesque stage stand in marked contrast to his messy offstage life." The production will have sets by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Japhy Weideman and sound by Leon Rothenberg.
Beane's new treatment for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Cinderella will debut this winter on Broadway. His works also include As Bees In Honey Drown, Mr. & Mrs. Fitch, Music From A Sparkling Planet, The Country Club, Advice From A Caterpiller and The Cartells. He received Tony Award nominations for the books to the musicals Xanadu, Sister Act and Lysistrata Jones. He also penned the screenplay "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar."
Lane's numerous stage credits include The Addams Family, The Lisbon Traviata, Guys and Dolls, Waiting for Godot, November, Butley, The Odd Couple, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Love! Valor! Compassion!, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, On Borrowed Time, Present Laughter and The Frogs. He is a two-time Emmy Award winner and currently appears on "The Good Wife."
An on-sale ticket date has not been announced. Visit LCT.org.