Leap of Faith, based on the 1992 film of the same name, began previews on April 3 and opens on Broadway on tonight at the St. James Theatre. It's been a long road to the Broadway stage, and we highlight key parts of the musical's journey below!
Leap of Faith got its start as a 1992 film, directed by Richard Pearce and starring Steve Martin, Debra Winger, Lolita Davidovich, Liam Neeson and Lukas Haas. In the movie, Jonas Nightengale is a fraudulent faith healer who makes a living travelling around America holding revival meetings and conducting 'miracles' with the help of his friend and manager, Jane, and their entourage. One of their trucks breaks down in Rustwater, a town in desperate need of rain to save their crops. While waiting for spare parts, Jonas decides to hold a revival meeting in the town. The local sheriff, Will Braverman, is skeptical and tries to prevent his town and its people from being conned. However a local disabled boy, Boyd, believes Jonas could make him walk again. Events in Rustwater make Jonas examine his own faith and doubts.
In April 2006, it was announced that the film was being adapted for the Broadway stage by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, with Taylor Hackford attached to direct. A workshop was held in May 2008, featuring Raul Esparza and Elizabeth Stanley. Another workshop was held in New York in early 2010, with Sutton Foster and a new director, Rob Ashford. It didn't make its stage debut until September 2011, when the Center Theatre Group presented the musical at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, with Rob Ashford as director and choreographer. Raul Esparza played the role of Jonas Nightengale and Brooke Shields played the role of Marva.
After being slated to open on Broadway in Fall 2012, it was announced in January 2012 that the show would open in April. Directed by Tony Award nominee Christopher Ashley with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, LEAP OF FAITH features music by Academy and Grammy Award-winner Alan Menken, a book by Janus Cercone and Tony Award-winner Warren Leight, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and music supervision by Michael Kosarin.
Four-time Tony nominee Raúl Esparza leads the Broadway company along with Jessica Phillips as Marla McGowan, Kendra Kassebaum as Sam Nightingale, Kecia Lewis-Evans as Ida Mae Sturdevant, Leslie Odom, Jr. as Isaiah Sturdevant, Krystal Joy Brown as Ornella Sturdevant and Talon Ackerman as Jake McGowan.