EXCLUSIVE: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Musical Gets New York Reading with Kerry Butler and Lesli Margherita
By Adam Hetrick
"Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" film producers Peter Schneider, Laurence Mark and Barry Kemp are currently tuning up a musical based on the 1997 comedy that starred Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow.
"Romy and Michele" screenwriter Robin Schiff authored the book for the musical, which had a private reading in New York late last week with Tony Award nominee Christopher Ashley (Memphis, Xanadu) at the helm. Lynne Shankel (Company, Altar Boyz) was the musical director.
Schneider, Mark and Kemp have been developing the musical for the past two years. Romy and Michele's High School Reunion received a preliminary reading at the La Jolla Playhouse in January 2011. The plot centers on two single L.A. party girls in their late 20's who scramble to find boyfriends and cook up fabulous careers in time for their 10-year high school reunion – but not before they have a falling out over inventing Post-it notes.
The recent New York reading featured Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Zorro) as Romy and Tony nominee Kerry Butler (Xanadu, Catch Me If You Can) as Michele. Also among the cast were Mara Davi as Christy and Adam Kantor as Sandy.
Gwendolyn Sanford and Brandon Jay, who provide the original music featured on Showtime's "Weeds," have written the score for Romy and Michele. "We picked them because we thought they were special, and we were looking for an 80's-90's rock sound," producer Kemp told Playbill.com.
The producing team is currently determining the next step for Romy and Michele, which is aiming for a New York bow sometime within the next 18 months. Kemp said that while Broadway is a goal, the team is committed to allowing the creative elements of the show dictate its ultimate New York venue.
"It's a nurturing process," Kemp said. "We don't want to do a re-creation of the movie. We wanted to do a reimagining of the movie. There are some things that are familiar and some things that were not in the film. It's a matter of balancing the moments you musicalize and the moments that you just let play. We don't want to blow the show up just to get it into a large theatre."
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