North Carolina and the U.S. will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' Kitty Hawk flight in 2003. "We intend the show to be a part of the national celebration of the event," commercial producer Marty Bell told Playbill On-Line. Bell, of East Egg Entertainment, has shepherded Take Flight for several years.
Take Flight explores and celebrates man's need to take risks, through interweaving stories of famous aviators, including the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Producer Bell's aim, eventually, is to land the show in Manhattan.
Charlotte Rep artistic director Michael Bush previously told Playbill On-Line he was in discussions with Bell to have the North Carolina not-for-profit be the first nest for the fledgling musical from the men who wrote Baby, Big and Closer Than Ever.
Charlotte Rep is staging the pre-Broadway tryout of The Miracle Worker, with Hilary Swank, in March.
Richard Maltby Jr. will direct Take Flight and penned the libretto. Jerry Mitchell, previously attached to direct, had other commitments. Derek McLane will do the set for Charlotte. Other designers and a choreographer are to be named. Marsha Norman was previously attached to the project as book writer.
Kevin Stites (Titanic, On the Town) has been attached as musical director of readings of the show since 2000.
Maltby and Shire are the songwriters whose urbane Off Broadway revues, Starting Here, Starting Now and Closer Than Ever, are beloved by fans of the form. Cabaret singers have plucked songs from the shows to present in nightspots around the world. Maltby and Shire also collaborated on the book musicals Baby and big. Baby has been going through revisions and readings in recent years and may surface in New York in 2003 or 2004, Maltby previously told Playbill On-Line.
Shire has scored motion pictures ("Norma Rae") and Maltby conceived and staged Aint' Misbehavin' and contributed lyrics to Miss Saigon. Maltby co directed the Tony Award-winner, Fosse.
Bell, a veteran producer who is president of East Egg Entertainment, was one of the producers of Broadway's Sweet Smell of Success and co-producer of Off Broadway's The Last 5 Years and Broadway's A Class Act. His credits include the respected Tony Award-winners, Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first of several "controlled, sustained flights in a power driven airplane," near Kitty Hawk, according to The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia.