Musical Version of Back to the Future Set to Open in West End in 2015

By Mark Shenton
31 Jan 2014

Back to the Future, a new stage musical based on the 1985 film of the same name, is set to open in the West End in 2015, the 30th anniversary year of the film's release.



The musical is being developed by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale with Universal Stage Productions (Wicked and Billy Elliot), London-based producer Colin Ingram (Ghost – The Musical) and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. It will be produced with Donovan Mannato and CJ E&M. 

The musical will be directed by Jamie Lloyd (currently represented in London by his production of The Commitments at the Palace Theatre and currently directing the U.K. premiere of Urinetown). It will have a book by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Jamie Lloyd, and new music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri (who scored the film) and Glen Ballard (who previously co-wrote Ghost - The Musical), with additional music from the film by Huey Lewis & The News, Chuck Berry, Pat Ballard and Curtis Williams, including "The Power of Love" and "Johnny B. Goode."

Other leading creative credits include set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, illusions by Paul Kieve, lighting design by Jon Clark and musical supervision by Alan Williams. Andrew Willis will be skateboard consultant.



The original film "Back to the Future" starred Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown. The film took $360.6 million at the box office worldwide, and the total box office for all three films in the "Back to the Future" franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today’s money).

The story revolves around Marty McFly, a teenager who is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown. As well as finding a way back to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents unite in order to save his own existence.

In a press statement, Bob Gale commented, "The Back to the Future musical is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost ten years.  We're thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake. Director Jamie Lloyd is full of passion, energy and imaginative ideas and we are overjoyed to have the film's composer Alan Silvestri composing the music, with lyrics by Glen Ballard who has also collaborated with Zemeckis before on many projects.  With all of us working together, we know the integrity of the material will be preserved in a production that will be a wonderful companion to the Trilogy. We intend to use music from the movie along with brand new songs to make a version of Back to the Future that is fresh, entertaining, and takes advantage of all the amazing things that can now be done on stage.  We can't think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film."

Lloyd added, "I was five when I saw Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s landmark movie, 'Back to the Future,' and I have been a huge fan ever since. I am thrilled to be directing and co-writing this exciting new musical based on their masterful film, which has become embedded in our popular culture. Rather than attempt to recreate such an iconic movie on stage, we have assembled a brilliant artistic team to discover a unique theatrical language to take audiences on a journey through time in a vibrant, unexpected way. The production will include illusions, skateboarding and many other surprises that will capture the spirit of the film but freshly interpret it for a new audience. Steven Spielberg once described the film as a musical and whilst we are incorporating some of the original, exhilarating score and songs, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's witty, infectious and heartfelt new songs are the perfect springboard to tell this uplifting story anew." Zemeckis directed all three of the "Back to the Future" films, as well as "Romancing the Stone," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Forrest Gump," for which he won the Oscar for Best Director. 

Gale co-wrote and co-produced the "Back to the Future" trilogy with Robert Zemeckis, his long-standing collaborator. In addition to numerous other screenplays, he has also written comics, including issues of "Batman" and "The Amazing Spider-Man."

Silvestri first worked with Robert Zemeckis on the 1984 film "Romancing the Stone." Since then, he has composed the music for all of Zemeckis’ films, including the "Back to the Future" Trilogy, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Death Becomes Her," "Forrest Gump," "Cast Away" and "The Polar Express. " He won two Grammy Awards for "Believe" from "The Polar Express" and for "Cast Away."

Ballard, a six-time Grammy Award winner, has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and has worked with Aretha Franklin, Van Halen, Aerosmith and Michael Jackson.  He co-wrote and produced Billboard magazine’s Best Album of the Decade (1990s), the multi-platinum "Jagged Little Pill" for Alanis Morissette.  He co-wrote the Grammy Award-winning "Believe" with Alan Silvestri for "The Polar Express." He co-wrote music and lyrics for Ghost –  The Musical with Dave Stewart.

Further details and dates are yet to be announced.