Central Indiana is staking its claim on Broadway as home to the new non-profit Discovering Broadway Inc., created to bring Broadway-bound musicals to the Midwest in its new-musical development program.
The creative team for the upcoming The Devil Wears Prada recently traveled to Carmel, a suburban city just north of Indianapolis, for a week-long writer’s retreat at the Hotel Carmichael. They are the first musical team to participate in the program.
Three-time Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum (SIX, Mrs. Doubtfire), along with lyricist Shaina Taub, music supervisor Nadia DiGiallonardo, choreographer James Aslop, director Anna D. Shapiro, and assistant director JC Clementz, were provided with their own rooms, workstations, and pianos, and seven days to let the new musical incubate. “The great thing about Discovering Broadway is it’s a creative safe space,” McCollum said. “This is a part of our journey and will always be. There are so few places that honor research and development.”
Discovering Broadway is founded by Indiana native Joel Kirk, a New York-based theatre director and producer who specializes in new work. “It’s always hard when you assemble six artists at the pinnacle of their careers to get them together for an extended period of time to work on a high-profile new musical,” he said. “So that’s where Discovering Broadway comes in. We offer Broadway artists a welcoming environment to call their artistic home and take away the distractions of everyday life that can impede on the creative process.”
Lyricist and singer-songwriter Shaina Taub, who joined the project in 2018, said “What Joel and Discovering Broadway have given us this week was such a breakthrough. This was the first time that this team was together in the same room.”
With Broadway and live performance at a halt, Discovering Broadway recognizes the importance of making art in a pandemic. Safety was a top priority, with regular COVID-19 testing and other safety measures implemented throughout the week. Anna D. Shapiro, artistic director of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, said of the week, “We do our work in communion with one another. We are broken when we’re not able to do this. We will always remember this, and we will always be grateful.”
The Devil Wears Prada is based on Lauren Weisberger's best-selling 2003 novel and the 2006 blockbuster film from Fox 2000 Pictures. The musical, with music by Elton John (Billy Elliot, Aida), lyrics Taub (Twelfth Night at The Public Theater), and a book by Paul Rudnick (In & Out, Jeffrey), is scheduled to open next summer in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre.
Upcoming programming with Discovering Broadway, Inc. includes a visit from Broadway's Samantha Pauly (SIX) to teach in-person courses for at-risk youth. To learn more about upcoming shows and master classes, visit DiscoveringBroadway.org or follow them on Instagram.