'Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder' heads to Broadway

'Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder' heads to Broadway
Jefferson Mays as Lord Adalbert D'Ysquith and Heather Ayers as Lady Eugenia in the world premiere of "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. (Henry DiRocco / Los Angeles Times)

The musical comedy "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" may be nearly as nimble as its lead actor, Jefferson Mays, who plays multiple characters and dies no less than eight times in the production. In its third incarnation, the production will transfer to Broadway this fall, its producers announced Thursday.

“A Gentleman’s Guide,” based on the Roy Horniman novel “Israel Rank” and directed by Darko Tresnjak, had a joint world premiere as a co-production between the Hartford Stage last fall and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where it recently finished a March 8 to April 14 run.

It’s set in Britain in the Edwardian era and follows a could-be duke ninth in line to inherit the title. He suspiciously and comically eliminates the eight other heirs who come before him – all played by the Tony-winning Mays (“I Am My Own Wife”).

The production, scored by Steven Lutvak and with a book by Robert L. Freedman, will begin previews Oct. 22 at New York's Walter Kerr Theater; it officially opens Nov. 17. Tresnjak will direct and Mays will revive his role. No other casting decisions have been announced.

In his review, Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called Mays' performance at the Old Globe brilliantly adept "… in creating an entire card deck of overbred fops and fools."

Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein called the production "a huge success at the Globe and sent our audiences giddily into the San Diego night. We're proud of our history as a launching pad for the most exciting new works of American musical theater, and we are thrilled to see our own Darko Tresnjak and this extraordinarily witty show light up the Great White Way."