Revised Finding Neverland Musical Will Premiere as Part of American Repertory Theater's 2014-15 Season

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27 Mar 2014

Diane Paulus will direct <i>Finding Neverland</i>.
Diane Paulus will direct Finding Neverland.
Photo by Susan Lapides

The new stage musical adaptation of Finding Neverland, featuring a score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, will premiere as part of the 2014-15 season at the American Repertory Theater. Also announced are world premieres from Eve Ensler, Susan Stroman, Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac.

Helmed by A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus, Finding Neverland will begin performances in July. Based on the 2004 Miramax film about Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie, the new version of the musical has a score by U.K. pop songwriters Barlow and Kennedy, with a book by James Graham (This House). A previous incarnation of the musical, which featured a score by Tony nominees Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, received a 2012 U.K. premiere.

The new staging of Finding Neverland, which Paulus has been developing over the past year, will feature choreography by Emmy Award winner Mia Michaels. Academy Award-winning producer Harvey Weinstein is shepherding the project.

Here's how it's billed: "When a faltering playwright meets a widow and her four boys in Kensington Gardens, he embarks on a friendship that inspires one of the most beloved stories of all time. Based on the Miramax film written by David Magee, Finding Neverland follows the real-life relationship between the Llewelyn Davies family and James Matthew Barrie as he writes the revolutionary 1904 play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up... This new musical explores the power of imagination to open up new worlds, and the pressures put upon those worlds by the prospect of growing up."

O.P.C., a world-premiere piece from Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler, will be produced in November. According to A.R.T., "O.P.C. (Obsessive Political Correctness) is a wildly funny exploration of consumption and politics that asks, 'How are we to survive as a species if we insist on destroying the world we love?' Romi Weil, a dumpster-diving Freegan, is doing just fine squatting in an abandoned apartment. But when her mother, a candidate running for the Senate, tries to make her toe the party line, radicalism comes into comic collision with mainstream liberalism. As Election Day approaches, mother and daughter wrestle with the inconvenient truths at the heart of consumer culture, tossed between political compromise and Obsessive Political Correctness."



In May 2015, A.R.T. will stage The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville, helmed by Tony Award winner Susan Stroman and starring Tony-winning actor Mandy Patinkin and acclaimed performance artist-writer Taylor Mac. A workshop production was presented in New York by Classic Stage Company earlier this season.

Here's how it's billed: "It’s the end of the world as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves us with only two people on Earth who discover their common language is song and dance. Together they chronicle the rise and fall and hopeful rise again of humankind through music that runs the gamut from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, and R.E.M. to Queen."

Also in May, the A.R.T. will produce the world premiere of a new American opera based on the Civil War diary of poet Walt Whitman. It features music and libretto by Matthew Aucoin and incorporates the Boston-based orchestral ensemble A Far Cry. Paulus will direct.

According to A.R.T., "Inspired by the diary Walt Whitman kept as a nurse during the Civil War, this world premiere opera by the extraordinary young composer Matthew Aucoin explores how the individual experiences of soldiers are remembered and told. As Whitman listens to wounded veterans share their memories and messages, he forges a bond with a soldier who forces him to examine his own role as writer and poet."

An additional play to premiere in February 2015 will be announced at a later date.

A.R.T. will also re-mount A Light Princess for the December holidays. With a book by Lila Rose Kaplan, music and lyrics by Mike Pettry and direction by Allegra Libonati, the musical is based on the classic fairy tale by George MacDonald.

Programming at Oberon will include Ruby Wax's Sane New World and Ruby Wax The Hypocrites' Mikado, adapted and directed by Sean Graney.

For further information, call (617) 547-8300 or visit AmericanRepertoryTheater.org.