Will Bway Be Moonstruck by Shanley, Krieger and Birkenhead?

News   Will Bway Be Moonstruck by Shanley, Krieger and Birkenhead? With his Cellini just opened at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre, talk has already turned to an upcoming project by playwright John Patrick Shanley — and it's an adaptation of what remains his best-known work.

With his Cellini just opened at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre, talk has already turned to an upcoming project by playwright John Patrick Shanley — and it's an adaptation of what remains his best-known work.

Shanley is currently writing the book for a musical version of "Moonstruck," Norman Jewison's 1987 romantic-comedy film, which won Oscars for Shanley's screenplay and actresses Olympia Dukakis and Cher. As reported by syndicated columnist Liz Smith, Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls, Side Show) is composing the music and Susan Birkenhead (Triumph of Love) the lyrics for the piece.

Ira Pittelman and Emanuel Azenberg, who have already shared producing chores on The Dinner Party and the upcoming Stones in His Pockets, are producing Moonstruck, which looks at a middle aged, Italian-American woman who marries for security but ends up falling for her husband's brother.

Co-producer Pittelman told Playbill On-Line Feb. 14 that his friendship with librettist Krieger "goes back 30 years" to when they used to write songs together. He added that it took a while to work out the "Moonstruck" rights with MGM and that the creative work on the musical began in earnest back in summer 2000. He added that it was too early to offer any time-frame for development of the piece.

Author Shanley's plays have included the zany comedy Psychopathia Sexualis and the drama Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Composers Krieger and Birkenhead are also collaborating on a Disney television project based on "Sleeping Beauty." Asked about the schedule for developing the piece, Shanley emailed PBOL (Feb. 20), "We are in the middle of writing it. I don't have a time frame."

— By David Lefkowitz