Playwright David Ives Joins Houdini Musical Creative Team; Producers Issue Statement on Hugh Jackman Departure

By Adam Hetrick
and Michael Gioia
24 Dec 2013

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award-nominated playwright David Ives (Venus in Fur) has joined the creative team of the Broadway-aimed musical Houdini, a representative for the production confirmed to Playbill.com.

Producers also issued a statement following the announcement that Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman, for whom Houdini was being written, has parted ways with the musical. The musical has shifted the timeline for its Broadway arrival several times.

"Hugh has been terrific to have on this part of our journey. We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team, as they craft this ambitious new musical," producer Scott Sanders said in a statement. Sanders, along with David Rockwell, are producing the musical about the life of the turn-of-the-century illusionist, which features a score by Tony Award nominee and three-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, "Pocahontas").

On Dec 23, Jackman stated: "I have greatly enjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini. Ultimately, though, I wasn't able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best. I know they're well on their way to making something extraordinary."



Houdini had previously been announced for a Broadway arrival during the 2013-14 season. A representative for the production previously confirmed a new targeted 2015-16 Broadway arrival.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin had been attached as the book writer for Houdini, but departed the project in early 2013. It has now been confirmed that Venus in Fur playwright David Ives, who wrote the book for White Christmas, and adapted the book for such musicals as Finian's Rainbow and Wonderful Town, will now pen the book for Houdini.

Tony-winning Hairspray and Coast of Utopia director Jack O'Brien will stage Houdini. Co-producer Rockwell (Hairspray, The Normal Heart) will also render scenic design for the musical. Kurt Andersen, who has been developing the musical over the last several seasons, serves as a creative consultant.