Shine, a Horatio Alger-based musical once planned for Broadway in the early 1980s but scuttled when producer 20th Century Fox went through management changes, may rise again following a Nov. 23 reading at Off-Broadway's York Theatre Company.
Casting agent Jay Binder will direct the reading of the musical about shoeshine boys in 1876 New York City. An earlier version of the rags-to riches show was seen in 1983 at the Museum Theatre in Richmond, VA, featuring George Lee Andrews and Alix Korey.
Many revisions and changes have been made since then, book writer Richard Seff told Playbill On-Line. "The Virginia show is not the show we have now," Seff said. "We put it away for years because we were all working on other things."
Lyrics are by Lee Goldsmith, with music by Roger Anderson. The songwriters' Chaplin won a Best New Musical Carbonell Award four years ago in Miami.
Seff said Binder has encouraged many book changes and narrative clarifications, and several new songs have been written and some scrapped. When Marvin Davis took over 20th Century Fox, Seff said, the theatre division was disbanded, scuttling hopes for the already-announced fall 1982 Broadway staging of Shine.
Seff, an actor-writer who is also a former theatrical agent, said that the invitation-only industry reading (with Tom Helm as musical director) includes actors Christopher Fitzgerald (Corpus Christi ) as the hero, Dick; Walter Charles (La Cage aux folles ); Brian Sutherland (The Sound of Music, 1776 ) ; John Christopher Jones; Brook Ashmanskas (Little Me ); Rich Hebert (The Life, Elaborate Lives ); Kay Walbye (Titanic, The Secret Garden ); Laura Benanti and Marshall Pailet (both of The Sound of Music ); Abbey Theatre veteran Aideen O’Kelly; Zach Braff; Casey Klein; and Anthony Galde.
Seff said the traditional book musical has its roots in "themes, characters and situations in several Alger novels, though its leading character is Ragged Dick, the hero of Alger's first best-seller."
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization owns the publishing rights to Shine, Seff said.
As a playwright, Seff's Paris is Out played on Broadway in 1970.
-- By Kenneth Jones