Producers of the The Civil War have announced that Jerry Zaks will direct the Broadway staging of the musical now being tested at the nonprofit Alley Theatre in Houston.
Tony Award-winning Zaks, whose golden touch made A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls and Six Degrees of Separation hits, has been serving as creative consultant on the show, which is set to begin previews at Broadway’s St. James Theatre March 23, 1999. The director, whose reputation as show doctor was established when he rescued a troubled pre-Broadway tryout of Smokey Joe's Cafe, has a longstanding affiliation with Jujamcyn Theatres, co-producer of The Civil War. Last season, Zaks did uncredited work on Three-For-All and The Capeman.
Elements of the Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde ) musical, including the cast, may be different by 1999. All along, the Alley staging (extended through Nov. 1) has been called a regional production rather than a Broadway tryout.
The Civil War has lyrics by Jack Murphy and draws from original Civil War-era documents, Walt Whitman poetry and correspondence of the time. The Alley’s artistic director, Gregory Boyd, wrote the book with Wildhorn.
The Zaks-directed pre-New York engagement of the commercial Civil War , produced by Pierre Cosette, PACE Theatrical Group, Bomurwil Productions, Kathleen Raitt, Magicworks Entertainment, Inc., and Jujamcyn Theaters, will play the Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT., Feb. 16-March 7. Atlantic Records will release a star-packed concept album of The Civil War in early 1999, featuring the entire show’s score. A cast album will follow in summer 1999. Even before its Broadway opening, a road company is in the works to begin Aug. 17, 1999 in Minneapolis, MN.
Ticket demand is the official reason for the eight-performance extension at the Alley Theatre. The show will absolutely close there Nov. 1, according to Alley managing director Paul Tetreault.
Tickets for the latest Alley extension week go on sale Oct. 9. Call (713) 228-8421 for Alley information.