Eccentric millionaire, filmmaker, aviator and eventual recluse Hughes backed the creation of the behemoth sea plane known as the Spruce Goose, unwittingly providing future musical theatre writers with their first rhyme for a Hughes-inspired musical project.
Pat Flicker Addiss (Spring Awakening, Bridge and Tunnel), in association with eBroadwayPlays.com, is presenting the reading.
The musical has a book by Peter Webb (Splendora), music by James Scully (a Stanley Award winner for Flight), and lyrics by Frank Evans (Abie's Island Rose, Dinner at Eight). Peter Dobbins (Linnea) directs, and Keith Levenson is musical director.
The ten-person cast features James Ludwig (Spamalot, Little Shop of Horrors) as filmmaker, industrialist, eccentric millionaire Hughes; Leah Hocking (All Shook Up, Mamma Mia!, Hairspray) as Ava Gardner; Maria Couch (A Time to Be Born) as Katharine Hepburn; Haviland Stillwell (Les Miz, Fiddler on the Roof) as Hughes' first wife, Ella, and second wife, Jean Peters; Elizabeth DeRosa (NYMF's The Screams of Kitty Genovese) playing multiple roles including Ginger Rogers, Louella Parsons and Jane Russell; Rick Hilsabeck (Chitty Bang Bang) as Marshall Neilan, who directed Hughes' first film success "Hells Angels"; former child star Jonathan C. Kaplan (The Diary of Anne Frank) in multiple roles including Glen Odekirk, one of Hughes' closest friends; Joseph Kolinski (Titanic, Les Miz) as Noah Dietrich, Hughes' right-hand man; William Parry (Sunday in the Park With George, 2004's Gypsy, Passion) as Howard Hughes Sr.; and Joe Danbusky (Storm Company's Ross) as columnist and radio personality Walter Winchell.
For more information, industry members should contact HHProjectMusical@aol.com. *
Among films that addressed the life, work and quirks of Hughes are "Melvin and Howard" and "The Aviator."