Speaking at the March 27 press conference for Candide, Prince said he'll stage the musical with book by Pulitzer-winner Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, Last Night of Ballyhoo); music and lyrics by 26 year-old Jason Robert Brown.
Uhry told Playbill On-Line May 14 that the musical will get its first reading in early June 1997 in New York. Matthew Broderick (How To Succeed In Business..., Master Harold...And The Boys) will play the lead, with Evan Pappas (My Favorite Year) and Carolee Carmello (Falsettos) playing supporting roles.
Prince said the musical will be produced by Livent Inc. (Ragtime, Show Boat), but will not open in Livent's base, Toronto. He said the tour will open in another unspecified city. Livent's Garth Drabinsky has mentioned the project among several he is developing.
Prince told Playbill On-Line the musical is based on the true story of Leo and Lucille Frank whose boring marriage gets an unexpected rebirth when Leo is accused of raping and killing one of the girls working in his Atlanta factory, in 1913. Clapped in prison, the wimpy Leo is forced to get some backbone. "He starts a coward and becomes a hero," Prince said. His chilly, passive wife "becomes a dynamic woman," he said. Prince said he was intrigued by the show's sociological setting as well. He incident, taking place in a factory, becomes a lightning rod for feelings among Atlantans that Northern industrialization was forced on the city after the Civil War. "The story just seemed like a metaphor for what was happening there at that time," he said.
Prince said he was introduced to Brown by his daughter, actress Daisy Prince, who appeared in one of his earlier projects.