Klea Blackhurst

Miss Lemon in




The Nutty Professor  opened on July 30, 2012 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville

Direction by Jerry Lewis  •  Choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter



“Klea Blackhurst breaks out of her second banana role of Miss Lemon, the adoring secretary to Dr. Warfield, to very nearly steal the show… an adept comic actress, with a smile that lights up the entire theater, Blackhurst has a confident way of delivering even the most throwaway line with vitality and a refined sense of freshness that renders it totally effective and, well, new… 

She’s an audience’s dream: Funny without being over-the-top, she takes a character who could be a caricature and delivers a warm-hearted evocation of a woman of a certain age setting her sights on what has eluded her in life… 

It helps that she is given a number that encapsulates her character completely while showing off the talents that have earned her the adoration of fans.  “Step Out of Your Shell”… propels her center stage, surrounded by six handsome men singing her praises and squiring her around the stage in some of JoAnn M. Hunter’s most inspired choreography… ”

Jeffrey Ellis, Broadwayworld.com  


“Blackhurst has a great set of pipes. The combination of her singing and acting talents (as well as great movement) are on display in “Step Out of Your Shell” which received lengthy and loud applause at both performances I attended. That number is one of The Nutty Professor’s highlights for more than one reason - music, lyrics and choreography certainly play their parts -  but the incredible Blackhurst  puts it over the top. ”



“The term "showstopper" is basically just empty hyperbole at this point. But if you want to see the true definition of the term — a performance so enthusiastically received it essentially halts the production — check out the new stage musical of The Nutty Professor  at TPAC's Polk Theatre…in the two performances we've seen, one actor brings down the house without fail — It's supporting player Klea Blackhurst, who uses her moment in the spotlight like a stick of dynamite catching a spark...

Playing a dowdy secretary who pines for a pompous dean, Blackhurst makes the most of her brief scenes and tongue-twisting gag lines. But in Act II, she gets one of the show's brightest numbers, "Step Out of Your Shell." What she does with the song, though — socking across the number with Ziegfeld-worthy pizzazz as the character practically swims in hunky chorus boys — brings such a torrent of cheers and applause that the show literally can't go on for a few moments. It's all the more pleasing because the second night we saw it, Blackhurst was clearly overwhelmed by the response, even knowing it was coming. Every second banana deserves such a moment atop the sundae. ”

Jim Ridley , Nashville Scene