Thank Heaven! Gigi, Reinvented, Hopes to Return to Broadway
By Kenneth Jones
Gigi, the Oscar-winning film musical that was later adapted for the Broadway stage, is being adapted anew for a Broadway run "possibly as soon as" 2014-15, producer Jenna Segal announced on March 27. Eric D. Schaeffer (Million Dollar Quartet, Follies) will direct the classic, inspired by characters of French writer Colette, with a score by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.
The new adaptation is by acclaimed British playwright and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Heidi Thomas ("Cranford," "Upstairs Downstairs," "Call the Midwife").
A developmental reading will take place later this month in New York City. Tony Award nominee Schaeffer is directing Kander and Ebb's Sing Happy, a revue, for Broadway in the 2013-14 season. He's artistic director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
According to a statement, "Set in the magical world of La Belle Époque in turn-of-the-century Paris, Gigi is a timeless romantic comedy about a young woman groomed in the custom of her family to be a companion to a bored, wealthy playboy, until the two unexpectedly realize this is in fact true love."
The score includes "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore," "The Night They Invented Champagne," "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight," "It's a Bore," "I Remember It Well," the Oscar-winning Best Song "Gigi" and more. Lerner penned lyrics, Loewe wrote the music. The 1958 M-G-M film was based on the 1951 Broadway play by Anita Loos, who drew from the work of novelist and short story writer Colette. The film is considered one of the greatest color movie musicals of all time.
The first Broadway stage adaptation of the film musical opened in 1973, with a libretto by Lerner. Lerner and Loewe's score, despite having been heard in the previous film, won the Tony Award for Best Score. The Tony rules would later change, allowing only original scores to be eligible.
Producer Segal said in the announcement, "Gigi lets us escape to an idyllic place where the girl gets the guy and love does conquer all. Heidi Thomas has restored Gigi to her rightful place at the center of the story, backed by a funny, warm family of women that show the men in the world around them the finer meaning of life and love. This is 'chick lit' musical theatre!"
Thomas said, "It's a touching, funny, captivating story of love and all the trials that go with it. Set in the most beautiful era in the history of the world's most romantic city, the messages in Gigi endure — 'Know your own worth. Write your own rules. And when you find love, never let it go.'"
The earlier film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Vincente Minnelli directed.
Designer and artist Jeremiah Goodman "is crafting a defining image that captures the spirit of this new production."
Alan Williams is attached as general manager.
Casting and the full creative team will be announced at a later date.
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