"Ray" Filmmaker Taylor Hackford to Direct Musical Version of "Leap of Faith"

News   "Ray" Filmmaker Taylor Hackford to Direct Musical Version of "Leap of Faith" Taylor Hackford, the career filmmaker who recently had a success with the biopic "Ray," will stage Leap of Faith, a new musical based on a Steve Martin film. It will premiere on Broadway during the 2007-08 season.
Taylor Hackford
Taylor Hackford Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The musical is penned by composer Alan Menken, librettist Janus Cercone (who wrote the original screenplay for the 1992 movie, which also starred Debra Winger) and lyricist Glenn Slater. The project has been in the work for a few years now. It will be produced by by Michael Manheim (who also produced the original picture), James D. Stern & Douglas L. Meyer and Steven Baruch, Richard Frankel, Marc Routh & Thomas Viertel.

No casting has been announced.

Taylor Hackford has directed a wide variety of movies over his long career. Among the best known are "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Against All Odds," "The Idolmaker," and "White Nights." His career was somewhat in eclipse when "Ray," a film about Ray Charles, became a box office hit and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including a nod for Hackford and an Oscar for star Jamie Foxx. Several of his movies have had musical or show business themes.

Leap of Faith would mark the first Broadway musical that composer Menken — of Beauty and the Beast and the upcoming The Little Mermaid — has penned directly for the Broadway stage (Little Shop took the long Off Broadway-to-film-to-Broadway route).

Menken is known for his work on Disney animated movies including "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," "Pocahantas" "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Home on the Range" and "Hercules." Glenn Slater's work includes Newyorkers and That's Life. The 1992 film starred Steve Martin as a fake faith healer who travels with a band of con artist helpers swindling townsfolk from one place to the next with their faux revival, until they break down in a small town and he falls for a local. The movie also featured performers Liam Neeson (The Crucible), Philip Seymour Hoffman, (Long Day's Journey Into Night) and La Chanze (Once on this Island).

The movie-turned-musical follows a number of non-musical films undergoing musicalization already in the works including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (another movie featuring Steve Martin as a con artist), The Color Purple, Legally Blonde, Cry Baby, Opposite of Sex, Billy Elliot and Young Frankenstein. The success of such recent hits as The Producers and Hairspray lead the way.