Though little has been heard since a year ago, when news came out that Warner Brothers was developing a musical version of “Batman,” playwright David Ives (All in the Timing, Mere Mortals) is continuing to work on the book for the new Broadway-bound project.
Time Warner, who owns the rights for the caped crusader, is aiming to place Batman: The Musical on Broadway by early 2001. According to Ives -- reached at Louisville, KY’s Humana Festival in April, where his one-act Arabian Night debuted as part of the “Ten-Minute Plays” slate -- Emanuel Azenberg is also part of the Batman producing team.
Composer Jim Steinman, of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" fame and lyricist of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down the Wind, is writing the score and lyrics.
Insiders claim that Stephen Daldry (Via Dolorosa, An Inspector Calls) passed on the project, with Robin Phillips (Jekyll & Hyde) in negotiations for it, according to an April 1999 Variety report.
Should Warner Brothers bring the dark knight to the Great White Way, it will be following in the tracks of several corporate colleagues. Disney has produced three musicals on Broadway -- Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Aida -- and apparently has two more in the works (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid). Last decade, Batman and his sidekick Robin were the subject of a series of highly popular "event" movies, such as "Batman and Robin" and "Batman Forever." Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney have all played film versions of the Caped Crusader.
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Sean McGrath