The revised version of Meredith Willson's classic musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown is still on track for Broadway, according to three-time Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), who updated the original Richard Morris libretto and added some new lyrics for a 2014 Denver Center Theatre Company production.
Scanlan told Playbill.com, ”[Director] Kathleen Marshall and I, and our commercial producers, remain committed to bringing Molly Brown to Broadway, and we have our next step planned. Hopefully that will be the step that solidifies our Broadway plans. I believe in [the show] passionately—I believe in Meredith Willson passionately—and I will do my damnedest to get it here!”
Scanlan offered no specifics about dates or casting.
The original 1960 musical by the composer of The Music Man told the real-life story of Molly Brown's climb from a penniless childhood to great wealth, and the story of how she survives the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, which gave her the nickname that became the show's title. The original production starred Tammy Grimes and ran 532 performances. Scanlan's 2014 production starred Tony nominee Beth Malone (pre-Fun Home) and Burke Moses.
Scanlan explained, “The new version of Molly Brown retains the essence of the character people love so much, but draws upon the life of the historical figure, Margaret Tobin Brown, and not the mythologized version that emerged after her death. Her true story was a rag-to-riches romance, but her indomitable nature extended past her ability to transform her life and into the lives of many, many other people that she touched through her tireless and (vis a vis her marriage) controversial political activities. The score is comprised of many of the songs from the original, used differently (because the plot and the characters are different) and songs from Willson's trunk. In some cases, I've provided new lyrics to make the song relevant to our narrative. It remains a musical comedy in the sense of the Golden Age of Musicals, but the relationship between Molly and her husband is very 21st century in that it's timeless.”