Director-choreographer Susan Stroman, who worked with Kander on his 2010 Broadway musical The Scottsboro Boys, will stage Beast in the Jungle, which is based on the 1903 Henry James novella of the same title. It tells the story of John Marcher a man who is haunted by a premonition that a horrible event is waiting to destroy him, like a “beast in a jungle,” at some indeterminate moment. He lives in perpetual fear of the unknown “beast” until finally, late in life, he realizes that the beast was his own fear that has robbed him of a happy life with May, a woman who loved him.
David Thompson, who wrote the libretto for Kander’s 1997 musical Steel Pier, is handling that job on the new musical as well. The show had a workshop in December 2016.
Described as a ”dance-driven musical” in the style of Stroman’s 2000 Tony-winning Contact, the new show may wind up at one of the major New York not-for-profit theatres, the Post reported.
News of the new project comes as yet another Kander-composed musical, Kid Victory, is in rehearsal for Off-Broadway previews that start February 1, with an opening night scheduled for February 22. Kander’s longtime lyric-writing partner, Fred Ebb, died in 2004.