Apparently, five years of Smokey Joe's Cafe wasn't enough for the Lieber and Stoller fans in musical theatreland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will have their tunes interpolated into another musical, this time based on the Elvis Presley film, "Jailhouse Rock." No solid plans have been made for the new tuner, but it will be workshopped in Los Angeles this September with a national tour to follow.
"Jailhouse Rock" the film featured, along with the title number, "Love Me Tender," "Treat Me Nice," "I Want To Be Free" and "Young And Beautiful." Jailhouse Rock the musical will be augmented by a Grammy Award winning composer still to be announced, who will pen new tunes for the score.
Dick Clements and Ian La Frenais, screenwriters who wrote "The Commitments" and the book to the British musical Billy, will create a new book, still based on the basic premise of 1957's "Jailhouse Rock." In the movie, Presley played a young man who accidentally kills a man in a bar while defending a woman and goes to prison. There he meets a country picker who teaches him how to play. The musical differs in having the lead character Dale wrongly accussed of a crime committed by his brother and for further developing a romantic subplot with his star-crossed lover Lauren. He still learns music in jail and that launches his career into rock 'n' roll superstardom.
Dan Purjes will executive produce Jailhouse Rock with Patrick Cannon as associate producer.
— By Christine Ehren