Show History



Lucky Stiff is based on the 1983 novel, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo by Michael Butterworth.


Lucky Stiff, a musical farce, was the first collaboration for the writing team of Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music). It was created and performed under the direction of Thommie Walsh Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, beginning April 26,1988, and won the Richard Rodgers Award for that year. The cast starred Stephen Stout as Harry, Julie White as Annabel, Stuart Zagnit as Vinnie and Mary Testa as Rita.

The musical was then produced at the Olney Theatre in Maryland in May 1989, starring Evan Pappas as Harry.

In 1994, the musical had its British debut at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln in the English midlands and, in 1997, it had a West End production, directed by Steven Dexter and starring Frances Ruffelle, Paul Baker and Tracie Bennett.

Lucky Stiff was revived for five performances as part of the York Theatre's Musicals in Mufti staged concert series in October 2003, starring Zagnit, Testa and several of the other original Playwrights Horizons cast members, as well as Malcolm Gets as Harry and Janet Metz as Annabel.

On January 27, 2011, Lucky Stiff then had its New Zealand premiere at the Havelock Town Hall in Marlborough. The play was directed by Gillian Palmer of the Havelock Theatre Company and starred Steven Leov as Harry and Sarah Ritchie as Annabel.

In addition to these high-profile productions, Lucky Stiff has gone on to great popularity in regional, community and high school theatres throughout the country.

Cultural Influence

  • Lucky Stiff has produced two cast albums, one from the original Playwrights Horizon cast, released in 1993, five years after the show's debut, and the other from the cast at the York Theatre, also Off-Broadway, released in 2004.
  • Lucky Stiff was the first collaboration for the writing team of Ahrens & Flaherty, who have gone on to write such musicals as My Favorite Year, Once on This Island, Ragtime, Seussical, A Man of No Importance and, most recently, Rocky.


  • Lucky Stiff is one of only a handful of musicals to have two cast albums from two Off-Broadway casts.
  • In 2012, it was announced that Christopher Ashley would direct a film adaptation of Lucky Stiff that starred Jason Alexander, among others.
  • Lucky Stiff marks the first collaboration of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.