Speaking with reporters in advance of the production, the 86-year-old Lewis – star of radio, stage, film and television – described the original plot of the science fiction comedy, which focused on a professor who creates a magical potion that relieves him of his tendency to be socially awkward by transforming him into a suave alter ego. As Lewis recalled, the movie company’s executives were worried about the actor taking on a role that was dramatically different from his previous work – but they changed their tune once the film became a smash hit.
The theatrical “Nutty Professor” has been crafted by Tony Award-winning book and lyrics writer Rupert Holmes and stellar composer Marvin Hamlisch. Lead actor Michael Andrew, a lifelong Jerry Lewis fan, proposed the concept of the play to the star. “There are moments that I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience,” Andrew said about his new role. “This man who has absolutely been my idol has become my mentor and then my friend.”