Krieger and Russell Musical Lucky Duck Takes Wing in Wide World of Licensing

News   Krieger and Russell Musical Lucky Duck Takes Wing in Wide World of Licensing
Lucky Duck, Jeffrey Hatcher, Henry Krieger and Bill Russell's hip musical comedy re-telling of "The Ugly Duckling," has been picked up by theatrical licensing newcomer Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
Henry Krieger
Henry Krieger Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The regionally popular show — with a pop sound from the composer of Dreamgirls and the songwriting team that gave us Side Show — has yet to find a serious commercial life in New York, but that fits in with TRW's mission: The company focuses on the project, not necessarily on its past production history.

Properties need not have been Broadway hits to have a wide life in amateur and professional theatres around the country and the world. Licensing companies like Music Theatre International, TRW and Rodgers & Hammerstein look to such examples as Honk! and Seussical, two in-demand smashes that have had hundreds of stock, regional, school and community stagings without having made a splash on Broadway. Indeed, Seussical was a Broadway flop.

For Lucky Duck, a demo cast album was recently recorded and is now available to potential licensees. Orchestrations are by Harold Wheeler.

Tony and Oscar-nominated composer Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls, The Tap Dance Kid) and Tony-nominated lyricist and co-librettist Bill Russell (Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens; Pageant) previously collaborated on Side Show.

Co-librettist Jeffrey Hatcher (Never Gonna Dance, Compleat Female Stage Beauty) is a prolific playwright who also recently wrote screenplays for the feature film "Casanova." His Murderers is popular in regional theatres at the moment. Lucky Duck was titled Everything's Ducky in its developmental productions. It played The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and elsewhere.

The new TRW demo recording resulted from a concert production directed by Bill Russell at Boston Conservatory in late April 2007. The production reflected the authors' final revision of the show, "and Russell wanted to capture the terrific performances and youthful energy of the cast and band under the music direction of Bill Casey," according to TRW.

Sean Patrick Flahaven, TRW's director of music and materials, produced the recording at Bristol Studios in Boston, recording 21 songs in seven hours, faster than many Broadway cast albums. Krieger and Russell were in attendance.

"Having a cast recording or demo is essential to promoting a new musical," stated Steve Spiegel, president and CEO of TRW. "And this recording proves that it doesn't necessarily have to be Broadway performers to be high-quality. These students, who are about to embark on professional careers, have been trained in Neil Donohoe's excellent theatre program at Boston Conservatory. They sang and played beautifully. I think this will serve as a new model for other shows to come."

A commercial cast album of the show has yet to be recorded or released. The demo is just that — a demonstration of the score, for use by those who rent the property for production.

According to TRW, "Lucky Duck follows ugly duckling Serena, who runs away from her rustic barnyard to pursue her dreams in New Duck City. Her adventures with a bunch of zany characters, including Prince Drake, Goosetella ('the most fashionable Goose in the City') and Wolf, a talent agent and reformed meat-eater (or is he?), take her from high-fashion runways to perilous performing opportunities. Even the happy ending is not exactly by the storybook in this grown-up adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Ugly Duckling.'"

The show features a cast of nine or more actors and a five-piece band.

Interested licensing customers may contact TRW for a "Perusal Pack" (including the script, vocal book, and score sampler) and Perusal CD.


Featuring a catalog of musical theatre properties originating from Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatres, community theatre and beyond, the goal of Theatrical Rights Worldwide is "to provide innovative products and licensing strategies aimed at enhancing the overall value and experience of stock and amateur theatrical productions."

TRW's Spiegel has 28 years of experience in the musical theatre licensing world, having held senior management positions at Music Theatre International and Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals, and been a theatrical agent at the William Morris Agency.

Launched in October 2006, TRW currently has 29 shows in its catalog, including the following new titles: Bare, A Pop Opera by Damon Intrabartolo and Jon Hartmere; Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka by Erik Jackson, Ben H. Winters, and Neil Sedaka; Dauntless Dick Deadeye, a new version of Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore by Herbert Appleman; Forbidden Broadway: Greatest Hits by Gerard Alessandrini; Little Women by Kim Oler, Alison Hubbard, and Sean Hartley; Once Upon A Time in New Jersey by Stephen Weiner and Susan DiLallo; Striking 12 by Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda.

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