Scott Sanders and David Rockwell will produce the musical, which features a book by best-selling author, journalist and editor Kurt Andersen. Three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien is attached to direct; Rockwell will also design the sets.
Houdini, based on the life of the late magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, "ultimately deals with the human yearning for astonishment and miracles — both manmade and supernatural —and the quest to defy death," according to press notes.
In a statement producer Sanders said, "When David Rockwell asked me to join him as a co-lead producer, I didn't hesitate for a moment. Houdini is an amazing, iconic figure who continues to captivate our imagination more than 80 years after his death. His colorful world defines the theatrical and, combined with this remarkable creative team, will make for a fascinating and entertaining musical."
Producer-designer Rockwell added, "The musical theatre has always been a passion of mine, and I can't imagine a more thrilling opportunity than the creation of a new musical, especially with this team."
Theatre, casting and a complete design team for Houdini: An Original Musical will be announced at a later date. Danny Elfman, who was a rock musician with his band Oingo Boingo, has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his scores to "Good Will Hunting," "Men in Black" and "Big Fish." He has also scored "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, "Beetlejuice," "Batman," "Edward Scissorhands," "Batman Returns," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Mars Attacks!," "Sleepy Hollow," "Planet of the Apes," "The Corpse Bride" and "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory," among others. Elfman has composed the theme songs for such TV shows as "The Simpsons," "Tales from the Crypt" and "Desperate Housewives," and his full-length orchestral commission, "Serenada Schizophrana," premiered at Carnegie Hall and was recorded for Sony Classics."
A recording artist, vocalist and pianist, David Yazbek was Tony Award-nominated for the musicals The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. His first album, "The Laughing Man," won the N.A.I.R.D. Award for Best Pop Album of the Year. He has also served as a writer for "Late Night with David Letterman." Yazbek's fifth CD of original rock songs, entitled "Evil Monkey Man," was recently released on the Ghostlight Records label.
Jack O'Brien won Tony Awards for his direction of The Coast of Utopia, Hairspray and Henry IV. He was also Tony-nominated for his work on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Invention of Love, The Full Monty, Two Shakespearean Actors and Porgy and Bess. O'Brien, who has served as artistic director of San Diego's Old Globe for the last 26 years, will pass the torch to Jerry Patch and Darko Tresnjak this year.