The show, with lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman and a book by Larry Gelbart, was presented in a world premiere at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2003, and had been revised and refined in the meantime.
As previously reported, Transamerica will produce. Variety reported Rudy Durand is attached as executive producer, Dirk Decloedt will direct (making his Broadway debut as a director) and Maurice Hines (Uptown…It's Hot!) will choreograph.
Variety reported that the title is "jazz slang for when a band's rhythm section really grooves, as in, 'They were really in the pocket tonight.'"
Coleman, the Tony Award-winning composer of Sweet Charity, City of Angels, Little Me, The Will Rogers Follies, The Life and more, died Nov. 18, 2004. A revised revival of Sweet Charity will open on Broadway this spring.
Gordon Davidson staged the production for Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles Nov. 25, 2003-Jan. 25, 2004. Mark Taper Forum presented the work in association with Transamerica and associate producers Rudy Durand and Bud Yorkin. In L.A., the show featured an 18-piece band onstage and a cast of singers and dancers The L.A. troupe included Patti Austin, Bill Cantos, Jennifer Chada, Cleavant Derricks, Katy Durham, Harry Groener, Dameka Hayes, Greg Poland, Nicki Richards, Jack Sheldon, Timothy Ware, Lillias White, Carlton Wilborn, Natalie Willes.
Asked if there may be another regional stop for the work, Coleman said, "You know, I never mind tryouts, I think they only help." Variety reported no tryout is expected.
The Bergmans' songs over the years include "The Windmills of Your Mind," "The Way We Were" and the songs for "Yentl" and the Broadway musical, Ballroom. Gelbart wrote Broadway's Sly Fox and City of Angels, and developed "M*A*S*H" for TV.
Fall 2005 was previously mentioned as a Broadway target date for the show. Coleman himself said the musical defies easy categorization.
As its L.A. subtitle — "a new kind of musical" — suggested, "it's different," Coleman previously told Playbill.com.
"It was born out of different circumstances [than a regular commercial musical]," Coleman explained. "It was born by the Kennedy Center calling up the Bergmans and saying, 'We'd like you to write a cycle of jazz songs for a concert.' They came to me, and we said, 'First of all, what is a jazz song, anyway?' Is it 'Lullaby of Birdland'? Or is it 'How High the Moon' and 'All the Things You Are'? It's a complex question when you're sitting down to write a cycle."
What the collaborators ending up writing was not just a cycle of jazz songs, but a show "about the jazz world," Coleman said.
"About the people who inhabit it," he offered. "About the people who play in it. About the lives of the musicians, the managers, the people who hang out in the bars. It became about jazz."
The show is hard to define, Coleman said.
"Every time you do something different it's hard to define," he said. "It is bound together by the feeling of jazz, the landscape of jazz — of the jazz world and jazz people. It's not a book musical in a traditional sense."
Coleman said the show featured the last arrangement master arranger-orchestrator Peter Matz wrote before his death.