The original musical (not based on the film of the same name) will be seen in a private industry presentation in Manhattan on July 30.
Producer Kathleen Raitt, William Franzblau/Jay Harris, Ben Sprecher/Louise Forlenza and Steven E. Leber/Jordan Leber are aiming Havana toward the 2010-11 Broadway season following a regional world premiere in June 2010 (Pasadena Playhouse had already announced the show; negotiations for that continue).
Trujillo is the acclaimed choreographer of Jersey Boys and Next to Normal and will choreograph the forthcoming musicals The Addams Family and Memphis. Trujillo was first a dancer (Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Fosse) and graduate to choreographer on such Broadways shows as All Shook Up and Guys and Dolls.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban author Nilo Cruz is writing the book, music is by internationally-renowned Frank Wildhorn and lyrics are by Jack Murphy. Wildhorn and Murphy wrote songs for Broadway's The Civil War, and were Tony nominees for their work.
According to the producers, "In 1958, Havana was known as the Paris of the Caribbean. Cuba was the decadent and oh-so-cool island playground for the rich and famous — socialites and mobsters alike — full of fabulous nightclubs with lavish entertainment and gambling casinos. On New Year's Eve 1959, Meyer Lansky's puppet, Cuban President Fulgencia Baptista, fled the country paving the way for Fidel Castro to assume power. The musical takes place just before the fall in that dangerous, sexy, alluring tropical powder keg called Havana." Music direction for Havana is by Joseph Church (The Lion King, The Who's Tommy) joined by special consultant/dance arranger, Oscar Hernandez, the Grammy-winning Latin pianist and leader of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Multiple Tony-winners, scenic designer Scott Pask (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Coast of Utopia) and lighting designer Natasha Katz (The Coast of Utopia, Aida), along with Academy Award winner Australian costume designer Lizzy Gardiner ("Priscilla Queen of the Desert") are in discussions to join the design team.
Born in Matanzas, Cuba, librettist, Cruz, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2003 and was nominated for the 2004 Best Play Tony Award for Anna in the Tropics. His other plays include Beauty of the Father, Night Train to Bolina and Dancing on Her Knees. He has taught playwriting at Brown and Yale Universities.
Wildhorn's Broadway productions include Jekyll & Hyde, Victor/Victoria, The Civil War (nominated for a Tony Award for Best Score) and The Scarlet Pimpernel. He has four new works currently debuting in Europe and Asia and his latest collaboration, the musical Bonnie and Clyde, will open at the La Jolla Playhouse in November 2009.
Jack Murphy has collaborated with Wildhorn on many projects, both as lyricist and bookwriter (Rudolf, The Count of Monte Cristo, Zelda, Wonderland). Murphy has also written and performed on recordings for many record labels, composed the score of Silver Dollar with Mary Bracken Phillips and wrote the play Gods of Autumn.