Source of "Rear Window" Will Be Adapted for Broadway Stage, Producers Say
By Kenneth Jones
A stage adaptation of the thriller short story that inspired the film "Rear Window" hopes to raise a blind on Broadway, producers announced on Oct. 24. The Cornell Woolrich tale of a housebound man who, at his window, witnesses a murder in a nearby building, is best known for its Alfred Hitchcock film version.
Producer Charlie Lyons is partnering on this developing project with Jay Russell (who is known as a film director) and Tim Guinee (an actor seen on TV's "Revolution" and "Homeland"). They are in talks with playwrights and directors about adapting the 1942 short story for the stage.
"We are assembling a world-class team of artists to bring this timeless thriller to the stage," Lyons said in a statement.
Lyons, Russell and Guinee worked together on the film "Ladder 49." They says that they have sought for two years to acquire the theatrical stage rights to the famous noir story, which was first known as "It Had to be Murder."
"This unique producing consortium announced today their plans to mount a Broadway production of the iconic and haunting tale of the wheelchair-bound witness to a possible murder in his neighboring New York City apartment," according to their statement. "Although the Broadway rights in this story have been repeatedly sought over the years from the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust and its predecessors, this is the first option ever granted."
"Rear Window" was written in 1942 by crime fiction writer Cornell Woolrich (1903-68). Russell said in a statement, "Woolrich's story is deliciously dark and edgy and our plan is to make it brand new all over again."
The 1954 Hitchcock "Rear Window" starred James Stewart. Woolrich's other famous work was the novel "The Bride Wore Black" (which was also made into a film, by Francois Truffaut and inspired the musical Ladykiller).
Lyons' current Broadway show, Bring It On: The Musical, continues at the St. James Theatre through Dec. 30.
Lyons is a film and stage producer and financier, and managing partner of Holding Pictures and a partner in Beacon Communications. Beacon and Holding Pictures have generated over three billion dollars of film revenues, with critically-acclaimed libraries of over 40 movies. Holding's films include "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," "Open Range," "The Guardian," "Firewall," "Ladder 49," "Raising Helen," "A Lot Like Love" and "PU-239." Beacon's library includes "The Hurricane," "Air Force One," "The Family Man," "Spy Game," "For Love of the Game" and "Thirteen Days." Lyons also produces the popular "Bring It On" franchise, which consists of five motion pictures and a musical.
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