We have an inkling that if the Tennessee General Assembly were in session this month, that august body of lawmakers would stop debating hand-holding as "the gateway to sexual activity" and would, instead, be changing the state's nickname from "The Volunteer State" to "The Nutty State" given the current state of affairs in Nashville. In just over a week, the cast and crew-the whole company, in fact, which includes a lot a whole bunch of Tennesseans and a heaping helping of newcomers-of The Nutty Professor Musical have claimed the state's capital city as their own since arriving to kick off their show's pre-Broadway tryout at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
Opening on Tuesday, July 24-with an official opening night of July 31 at The James K. Polk Theaatre-The Nutty Professor features a book and lyrics by three-time Tony Award winner Rupert Holmes (his hit musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be revived on Broadway with an all-star cast later this year) and a musical score by Marvin Hamlisch (who happens to have a Tony, an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize for A Chorus Line-which puts him in a rarefied position he shares only with Richard Rodgers). But the show's "really big name" belongs to "the king of comedy" Jerry Lewis, upon whose 1963 classic film comedy the musical is based, who directs the talented company in their much-anticipated vehicle.
For the next six weeks at least, Music City USA will be just a bit more talented thanks to the members of The Nutty Professor cast and crew, so we're welcoming them to our fair city with this special column, aka The Nutty Five. In The Nutty Five, we ask probing questions so that when you meet one of the drop-dead gorgeous, ridiculously talented and downright charming company members wandering around downtown looking for a taxi, you'll know how to approach them. Here's the key: They're just like us, only slightly more theatrical, and they are likely to be suffering from a barbecue and/or fried chicken deficiency.
Today, our altogether welcoming (my mama raised me right) spotlight falls on Alex David, who's part of the ensemble and is the double for Julius Kelp/Buddy Love (played by star Michael Andrew), and who is obviously having the time of his life in Nashville. And keep this in mind: Alex May need your help when he's sent flying by a mechanical bull!
So, we urge you to read on…get to know Alex and be sure to say "hey" when you see him. It's just what we do here in Music City…
What was your "first taste" of live theatre? The first show I ever saw was The Phantom of the Opera. I was so inspired that I learned how to play the title song on the piano. At the age of eleven, I performed for the Providence Bruins hockey team after one of their games. That same year, I got my first real taste performing as Jason in the Brown University production of Falsettos with Tony Award-winning John Lloyd Young who played my father.
Do you have a special pre-show ritual? Before a show, I like to do Tai-chi to center myself and help me stay present and in the moment.
Everbody has one: What's your favorite "the show must go on!" memory? I was in a production of Anything Goes as a sailor, and in the song "Bon-Voyage"' I had to carry four suitcases down the 15-foot high staircase that was center stage. As I went to sing my last line I slipped on the first step and slid all the way down, hitting every single step on the way. The suitcases opened and clothes were flying out everywhere. Since the show must go on, I stood up hit my mark and saluted as I sang the closing lyric. It was as if it had been choreographed into the number.
What's your dream role? My dream roles are Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jack in Into the Woods or Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.