Herman's Miss Spectacular Stalled by Corporate Merger

News   Herman's Miss Spectacular Stalled by Corporate Merger Miss Spectacular, the Jerry Herman-Robert Freedman musical, which was expected to debut at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, has been postponed, apparently the victim of a buyout of the Mirage chain by the MGM-Grand corporation. This, according to Tommy Tune, who was scheduled to direct the brand-new musical, Herman's first stage work in over a decade.

Miss Spectacular, the Jerry Herman-Robert Freedman musical, which was expected to debut at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, has been postponed, apparently the victim of a buyout of the Mirage chain by the MGM-Grand corporation. This, according to Tommy Tune, who was scheduled to direct the brand-new musical, Herman's first stage work in over a decade.

[Editor's Note (April 4, 2001): Herman told a San Francisco-based website, "SFGate," the project was indefinitely tabled.]

For the past year, Tune -- whose credits include Grand Hotel, My One and Only and The Will Rogers Follies -- has starred in MGM Grand's extravaganza EFX, in Las Vegas, reportedly earning in excess of $100,000 a week.

In an interview with Playbill On-Line, Tune said, regarding Miss Spectacular: "Steve Wynn [the entrepreneur behind Mirage, Inc., which included Vegas casinos Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island] was very passionate about it. Jerry's score certainly lives up to the title and I was very excited about directing it. Then something unexpected happened. MGM Grand, the corporation for whom I work, last month suddenly ate the entire Mirage empire, and I haven't heard anymore about it. Technically, MGM-Grand owns Miss Spectacular, but it was Steve's dream and Jerry's genius and, hopefully, my know-how that was to propel the production forward. I'd love to see the show realized. Jerry's score is simply sensational. It would be a spectacular winner."

* Herman told Playbill On-Line in a Brief Encounter interview in June 1999 that he and Freedman were collaborating on a new musical destined to open at the Mirage Hotel in the year 2000.

Said Herman, "Steve Wynn has commissioned a musical from me, and he's building a theatre for it. The show is called Miss Spectacular, and it's going to open at a new theatre in the Mirage Hotel... I've already written five songs -- and this is the first writing I've done in several years. I'm having the best time!"

Freedman penned the book for the highly-watched TV "Cinderella" that starred Brandy. He did the Spectacular libretto, while Herman, as always, wrote the music and lyrics. Frank Galati, who helmed Ragtime, was to direct.

Asked about the show's plot, Herman said, "It's about a girl from Indiana who's a finalist at a Las Vegas contest for `Miss Spectacular.' It's a lovely story. It combines the spectacle expected from Las Vegas with a very human and very touching love story, which has never been done before. Most of the Vegas shows are these mindless revues, like `Jubilee.' This is Broadway-style musical with very lovely characters and big, big productions."

Continued Herman, "It's a very classy project. And it's one of those times when songs start to pour out of me, and I can't stop them. That's when I know I'm doing the right thing. It's happened twice in my career: with Mame and La Cage Aux Folles. I could not stop the music."

For years, Herman was tempted to work on an adaptation of the film "Pocketful of Miracles," but he eventually lost interest, and he hasn't done a new show since La Cage (though he scored the TV musical "Mrs. Santa Claus").

--By Robert Simonson
and David Lefkowitz, Ellis Nassour