After languishing in development limbo for more than a decade, Cy Coleman's musical 13 Days To Broadway appears sincerely to have moved off the back burner -- thanks largely to the addition of two major new names: Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Wagner.
As first reported by The New York Post, and confirmed by composer Coleman, actress Goldberg has agreed to come aboard the project, the backstage story of a musical in trouble on the road to Broadway. It's based on Coleman's own experience with the 1979 musical Home Again, Home Again and includes some songs from that show, which closed in Toronto on the second leg of what was supposed to be a pre-Broadway tour.
Coleman told Playbill On-Line that he's putting 13 Days in development for 1999 or 2000.
A comedian and Oscar-winning actress, Goldberg got her start in a one woman Broadway show produced by Mike Nichols. She returned to Broadway in 1997, succeeding Nathan Lane as Pseudolus in the A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum revival -- a coup of non-traditional casting.
13 Days To Broadway will have lyrics by Barbara Frye, and a book by Bruce Villanch, taking over from columnist Russell Baker who did the Home Again libretto. No director has been announced. The other new name on the project is Robin Wagner, the Tony-winning designer who will design and co-produce the show with Coleman.
Coleman has had his share of flops, including Welcome To the Club (which he's reworking this summer for Goodspeed Opera House as Exactly Like You) and Seesaw. But Coleman's track record also includes Tony-winning hits such as The Will Rogers Follies, City of Angels, Barnum and Sweet Charity. He's currently represented on Broadway by The Life.
As for the title, which has been knocked as a downer in the highly superstitious theatre world, Coleman told Playbill On-Line that it remains his favorite for the project, though he said he'd consider a better one.
-- By Robert Viagas