Sleepless in Seattle Songwriters Announced; Lonny Price Directs Musical for 2013 Premiere

By Kenneth Jones
26 Jul 2012

Lonny Price
Lonny Price
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The new musical Sleepless in Seattle has its new songwriters, producers announced on the show's website. Composer Ben Toth and lyricist Sam Forman will pen the score for the show based on the hit film.

As previously reported, the musical that will get its world premiere June 2, 2013, at Pasadena Playhouse has a book by Oscar nominee Jeff Arch, who co-wrote the screenplay of the hit 1993 film comedy, and direction by Lonny Price. Eric Stern is music director.

Forman is a writer for the stage, screen and TV, currently on the writing staff of "House of Cards" (Netflix's first original TV program starring Kevin Spacey, executive-produced by David Fincher). He is the lyricist and co-book author for the musical I Sing!, which has been produced commercially Off-Broadway and in theatres around the world. A concert cast recording is in stores.

His other plays and musicals include The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall (Stage 13 in New York; Theater J, Washington DC, Helen Hayes nomination 2010); We the People (TheaterWorks USA, Lucille Lortel nomination 2011); F#@king Up Everything (Award for Excellence in Book Writing NYMF 2009, Woolly Mammoth, Washington, DC); Roller Disco (A.R.T. Oberon, Cambridge, MA); The Moscows of Nantucket (Theatre J, Washington, DC); The Grille Room (Cherry Lane Mentor Project); Quarterlife (NYC workshop, Pico Playhouse, Los Angeles, CA); Please Stop Talking (Cherry Lane Theater, Willlamstown Theatre Festival); Fringical! (Ars Nova, NYC; American Theatre of Actors, NYMF 2004); Schmoozy Togetherness (Williamstown Theatre Festival); The Quiet Game (Hangar Theater, Ithaca NY), among others.



Forman's upcoming projects include Volleygirls (book by Rob Ackerman) and Tricia Walsh-Smith In Concert (directed by Alex Timbers).

Toth is a theatre/film composer, musical director and vocal coach. He has co-written songs with Grammy and Tony winner Steven Sater (Spring Awakening), Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde, The Musical) and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon. He wrote the score for writer-director Josh Radnor's "Liberal Arts," a feature film starring Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and opens in theatres in September. Before that, he scored "Patrimony" starring Oscar nominee Robert Vaughn and Tony nominee Melissa Errico. He has served as musical director/vocal coach or producer for Lea Michele, Idina Menzel, Christina Hendricks, Beau Bridges, Taye Diggs, and Mandy Patinkin, with whom he performed to critical acclaim at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End.

In fall 2011 he made his Carnegie Hall debut, serving as the musical director/pianist/arranger/backup-singer for "30 Rock" actor Cheyenne Jackson's sold-out concert performance. He received a BA from Brown University, and studied composition, voice, piano, and orchestral conducting at the Eastman School of Music.

Sleepless in Seattle is produced by David H. Shor of David Shor Productions.

Price is a Tony Award nominee for co-writing the book of A Class Act. He's a respected director of plays, Broadway musicals (110 in the Shade) and concert productions of musicals (Sweeney Todd, Candide, Passion).

Stern — whose Broadway conducting and musical director credits include Rags, 1989's Gypsy, The Will Rogers Follies, 1996's Once Upon a Mattress, 1997's Candide, Parade, Xanadu and more — was music director for a 2010 Manhattan reading of Sleepless in Seattle when it had a different songwriting team attached.

On Feb. 17, Pasadena Playhouse announced that it was postponing Sleepless in Seattle — The Musical from June 2012 to June 2013, to allow time for further development.

Here's how Pasadena Playhouse bills the show: "The Pasadena Playhouse presents the long-awaited world premiere based on Nora Ephron's beloved motion picture, with a book by 'Sleepless' screenwriter Jeff Arch. Inspired by the classic film 'An Affair to Remember' starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, Sleepless in Seattle tells the story of Sam and his young son Jonah. Still grieving his wife's untimely death, Sam's heart is given a second chance at romance when his son calls a talk radio show to help him find new love. Our audiences will be the first to enjoy this hotly-anticipated musical premiere."

Book writer Arch, Shor's longtime business partner, wrote the film's original story and co-wrote the screenplay, sharing 1994 Oscar, BAFTA and WGA nominations with Nora Ephron and David Ward.

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The American Film Institute (AFI) lists "Sleepless in Seattle" among the Top 10 Best Romantic Comedies of all time and the film grossed over $227 million dollars worldwide. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, four MTV Movie Awards, one Writers Guild of America Award, and won an American Comedy Award and a Casting Society of America Award.

"Sleepless in Seattle" draws inspiration from the 1957 film "An Affair to Remember" starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.