Butterell to Direct and Choreograph Star Is Born Workshop

News   Butterell to Direct and Choreograph Star Is Born Workshop
Jonathan Butterell — who provided musical staging for The Light in the Piazza as well as the revivals of Assassins, Fiddler on the Roof and Nine — will direct and choreograph a workshop of the new musical A Star Is Born, based on the classic 1954 film of the same name.
Jonathan Butterell

The Sept. 22-Oct. 27 workshop, according to a casting notice, will be produced by Warner Theatre Ventures, Inc.; Emanuel Azenberg; and Gregg Maday for Warner Bros. The Moss Hart screenplay has been adapted for the stage by Butterell and The Wild Party composer Michael John LaChiusa, who will also serve as the production's musical supervisor. A Star Is Born will feature the Harold Arlen-Ira Gershwin songs heard in the original film with additional lyrics penned by Dory Langdon, Johnny Mercer, Carolyn Leigh, E.Y. Harburg, Roger Edens and LaChiusa. The score boasts such popular American standards as "The Man That Got Away" and "Swanee."

The New York Post recently reported that stage and screen star Hugh Jackman — who won his Tony for his high-voltage performance as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz — is in negotiations to portray Norman Maine in a possible Broadway production of this version of A Star Is Born. Although the casting notice does not specify Jackson's involvement, it does indicate that the role of Maine has been cast.

A Star Is Born concerns the tumultuous relationship between Esther Blodgett and Norman Maine. The casting notice describes Blodgett as a "small-time singer in a nightclub band act who never imagines that one day she will achieve international stardom. Norman recognizes her immense talent, falls in love with her and makes her a star. Ultimately, her success causes a conflict in her relationship with Norman. She is a street girl, open, warm and has an immense emotional capacity."

George Cukor directed the 1954 film "A Star Is Born," which co-starred Judy Garland as Vicki Lester (Esther Blodgett) and James Mason as Norman Maine. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Mason), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Garland), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song (Gershwin and Arlen's "The Man That Got Away") and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starred in a 1976 remake.

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