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'Louis & Keely' aiming for Broadway, minus Taylor Hackford

August 25, 2009 |  8:46 pm


The runaway success of "Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara," which recently extended its run at the Geffen Playhouse for the fifth time, has had theater people talking that the show might transfer to other cities, perhaps even New York.

Now it appears that at least some of those rumors are true. Culture Monster has learned that the team behind the hit musical biography is preparing for a short national tour next year and then "ideally moving to Broadway in late 2010," according to a statement from Sarabeth Schedeen, one of the producers.

Jake Broder, who plays Louis Prima in the musical, confirmed the news in an e-mail. "Yes, we are putting together a tour ending up on Broadway for 2010," he wrote.

The production team did not specify cities or specific dates for the tour, nor did it disclose any information about the planned Broadway run.

What they did confirm is that there will be one crucial team member who won't be joining the tour: movie director Taylor Hackford, who staged the show's current production at the Geffen.

A spokeswoman at the Geffen said that the show's stars -- Broder and Vanessa Claire Smith -- are rewriting portions of the script without Hackford and that the new version will be staged by another director, who is yet to be named.

"They're constantly learning new things about the show and they wanted to take the production in a slightly different direction," the spokeswoman said.

"Louis & Keely" follows the stormy relationship between Prima and Keely Smith as they take their lounge act to the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The show features live performances of the duet's most famous tunes, including "That Old Black Magic," "Just a Gigolo" and "I Wish You Love."

The musical also ran at the Sacred Fools Theater and the Matrix Theatre before opening at the Geffen.

Check back with Culture Monster as more details about this story emerge.

-- David Ng

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Photo: Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder in "Louis & Keely." Credit: Michael Lamont