The authors of the musical Big are rewriting the show for a 40-week national tour that will launch Sept. 26 in Wilmington, DE.
At the helm will be Eric D. Schaeffer, who is just coming off a success with the "Encores!" staged reading of Sweet Adeline, according to producer Gary Gunas of PACE Theatrical Group.
Tentative cities and dates are listed at the end of this story. Casting will be announced in May or June, according to a spokesperson for PACE Theatrical Group, the produce of the tour.
The show, with a score by David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. and a book by John Weidman, closed on Broadway in October 1996 after a disappointing 193-performance run, losing its $10.3 million investment.
Schaeffer met with the creative team March 10 to begin rewriting, or, what composer Shire termed "unwriting." Shire told Playbill On-Line that the team is "going back to an earlier conception" of the show, "a simpler way of doing things," that will include some earlier versions of some of the songs. Asked whether the intimate, emotional song "Stop, Time" was being moved out of the shopping mall setting of the Broadway production, Shire said, "one would hope so."
The musical is based on the 1988 Tom Hanks film about a 12-year-old whose wish to be "big" is magically granted -- and he suddenly finds himself in the body of a 30-year-old, trying to make his way in the world as best he can. The score included "Stop, Time," "Fun," "Stars, Stars, Stars" and other songs. The original director was Mike Ockrent.
The closing of Big prompted an unusual outpouring from Playbill On Line members, most of whom felt the show hadn't gotten a fair shake from critics or awards voters. (The show was not nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award when two long-closed musicals were. Maltby and Shire were, however, nominated for Best Score.) To read Playbill On-Line readers' views on the show, see Playbill Members React to Big Closing Notice in Theatre News.
Here are the bookings for the tour so far, which the operators say are tentative and subject to change:
Wilmington, DE (Playhouse) Sept. 26-Oct. 5
Baltimore (Mechanic) Oct. 7-12
Atlanta (Fox) Oct. 14-19
St Louis (Fox) Oct. 21-26
Indianapolis (Murat) Oct. 28-Nov. 2
St. Paul (Ordway) Nov. 4-16
Columbus (Ohio Theatre) Nov. 18-23
Hartford, CT (Bushnell) Nov. 25-30
Hershey, PA (Hershey) Dec. 2-7
Cincinnati (Aronoff) Dec. 9-21
Pittsburg (Heinz Hall) Dec. 23-28
Orlando, FL (Bob Carr) Dec. 30-Jan. 4
Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Broward) Jan. 6-18
St Peterburg, FL (Mahaffey) Jan. 20-25
Houston (Jones Hall) Jan. 27- Feb. 1
Palm Desert, CA (McCallum) Feb. 3-8 (tentative)
Costa Mesa, CA (Orange County PAC) Feb. 10-15
Seattle (Paramount) Feb. 17-March 1
Portland, OR (Civic Theatre) March 3-8
Rosemont (Rosemont Theatre) March 10-15 (tentative)
Buffalo (Shea's) March 17-22
Rochester (Eastman Theatre) March 24-29
Louisvillle, KY (Kentucky Center for the Arts) March 31-April 5
TBA, April 7-19
Nashville, TN (Tennessee PAC) April 21-26
San Antonio, TX (Majestic) April 28-May 3
Tempe AR (Gammadge) May 5-10
New Orleans (Saenger) May 12-17
Green Bay (Weidner) May 26-31
Kansas City (Music Hall) June 2-7
TBA, June 9-14
Dallas (Music Hall) June 16-28