Pop superstar Michael Jackson and songwriter Larry Hart are teaming to write PanJam, a stage musical loosely based on the Peter Pan story. Hart will be writing most of the show's songs, but attested that Jackson, who has never before written for the musical theatre, reportedly will contribute a few compositions of his own.
Jackson and Hart became acquainted through Sisterella, a $6.5 million (Australian dollars), modern take on the Cinderella tale which Hart wrote and directed and Jackson and Australian producer and entrepreneur Kevin Jacobsen backed. The musical debuted at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1996. Sisterella then, under the wing of Jacobsen, opened at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, on March 7, 1998, and is due to begin a ten-week run at Sydney's Capital Theatre on June 27. Jackson also financed the musical's original cast album. Jacobsen's publicist Lee Solters said that Sisterella is currently putting together two new companies, one for the United States and one for Europe, both to open in early 1999.
No information as to the budget or time frame for PanJam has been announced. According to Solters, it was not certain when Hart and Jackson would begin work on the project.
J.M. Barrie's familiar 1904 tale of a flying, magical boy who never ages has reached the musical stage before in several forms, most notably as the 1954 musical starring Mary Martin, with music by Moose Charlap and Jule Styne, and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
-- By Robert Simonson