Set in 1945, the final year of World War II, the self-described "big-band musical" chronicles the story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans who join together to compete in a radio contest with dreams of stardom. The show has music by Cirque du Soleil’s Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker.
Leavel and Osnes took part in a New York City workshop of the musical in September 2014. Performances run Oct. 8 through Nov. 8, with an official opening scheduled for Oct. 18. There has been talk of a future Broadway life for the production.
More casting will be announced later.
New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, proving grounds for Broadway transfers including Newsies and Honeymoon in Vegas, had previously announced the show as part of its 2015-16 season, which will feature five musicals and two world premieres, also including the new Alan Menken musical A Bronx Tale, directed by Oscar winner Rober De Niro and Tony winner Jerry Zaks.
The holiday season will see the staging of A Christmas Story: The Musical, with music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Joseph Robinette. The holiday musical is based on the classic 1983 movie about Ralphie's desperate quest to ensure his most desired gift ends up under the tree. Performances run Nov. 25 through Jan. 3, 2016. The new year kicks off with the world premiere of A Bronx Tale, with music by Tony and Oscar winner Menken (Aladdin, Newsies), based on Chazz Palminteri's one-man show that played an extended run on Broadway in 2007. Helmed by De Niro and Zaks, the show features lyrics by School of Rock The Musical lyricist Glenn Slater and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is working on the new Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet, which will hit Broadway this November. A Bronx Tale is set against the backdrop of organized crime and racial tension in the 1960s, focused on an Italian-American teenager who must choose between his father and a mob-boss father figure who is intent on taking him in. Performances will run Feb. 4 through March 6, 2016.
"We are proud to have created an irresistible lineup of stories you will love, glorious music that will warm your heart and many memorable moments of theater magic," said Paper Mill's producing artistic director Mark S. Hoebee in a press statement.
The season will also feature Pump Boys and Dinettes, with a book, lyrics and music by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann; as well as the celebrated classic West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents.
For more information visit PaperMill.