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Playbill Viewing: Film Adaptation of Ahrens and Flaherty’s Lucky Stiff, Starring Jason Alexander, Dennis Farina, and Nikki M. James

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 1988 musical Lucky Stiff, about a British shoe salesman who takes his dead uncle to Monte Carlo in order to qualify for his inheritance and becomes entangled with a wild cast of characters, received a film adaptation in 2015 and is now available to stream on Prime Video.

Book writer and lyricist Ahrens adapted the musical for the screen, and she and composer Flaherty wrote two additional songs. The duo are Tony Award winners for Ragtime

The film is directed by Christopher Ashley with choreography by Joey Pizzi (Burlesque), the movie stars Dominic Marsh, Tony winner Jason Alexander (Seinfeld, Jerome Robbins Broadway), the late Dennis Farina (Get Shorty), and Tony winner Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), as well as Don Amendolia, Pamela Shaw, Kate Shindle, Jayne Houdyshell and Mary Birdsong, with appearances by Cheyenne Jackson, Jennifer Cody, Kevin Chamberlain, Wesley Taylor, and more.

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 and 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.

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