Hugh Jackman to Return to Broadway in HOUDINI 2013-14 by Stephen Schwartz & Aaron Sorkin!
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by BWW News Desk
Hugh Jackman will return to Broadway during the 2013/2014 season starring as America's greatest showman in HOUDINI, an original musical. Making his Broadway debut as librettist, Academy Award and six-time Emmy Award winner Aaron Sorkin will collaborate with three-time Academy Award and four-time Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz.
Directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien, HOUDINI is presented by film and theatre producer Scott Sanders and David Rockwell. Mr. Rockwell will also design the sets for HOUDINI. Additional HOUDINI casting, creative team and design team to be announced at a later date. The show, when previously announced, was to feature music by Danny Elfman and lyrics by David Yazbeck.
One of the world's most fascinating figures takes center stage in HOUDINI, an original and contemporary look at the life--and death--of America's first superstar.
"I have been deeply fascinated by the life of Harry Houdini since I was young, and in many ways I've been preparing for this role my whole life," said Hugh Jackman. "I am thrilled to be collaborating with this collection of artists who are all at the top of their game."
"Rather than being a biography, HOUDINI--told in a contemporary tone--tells the story of an epic battle that took place between the world's greatest illusionist and a trio of women, known as 'Spiritualists', who convinced millions of people, including the editors of Scientific American and The New York Times, that they could communicate with the dead," said Aaron Sorkin. "The chance to collaborate with Stephen Schwartz, Jack O'Brien and Hugh Jackman on a new Broadway musical is a huge gift."
Hugh Jackman (Harry Houdini) has uniquely balanced a movie and theatre career that has made him a star on Broadway as well as at multiplexes around the world. On stage, he won critical kudos and awards for the Australian productions of Sunset Boulevard and Disney's Beauty and the Beast. In London he starred in Trevor Nunn's staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! at The National Theatre. This was followed by his Broadway debut portraying the 1970's singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, for which he received the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a musical as well as Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards. Hugh Jackman made his first major U.S. film appearance as Wolverine in the first installment of the X-Men franchise, a role he reprised in the enormously successful X2 and 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. He reprised his role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, one of the most successful 'prequels' of all time. On February 22, 2009, Jackman took on the prestigious role of Oscar host as he fronted "The 81st Annual Academy Awards." Previously, Jackman served as host of the Tony Awards three years in a row from 2003-2005, earning an Emmy Award for his 2004 duties at the 58th annual ceremony, and an Emmy nomination for the following year. In the fall of 2009, Jackman made a return to Broadway in a sold-out engagement of Keith Huff's A Steady Rain co-starring Daniel Craig. Other films Jackman has starred in include Darran Aronofsky's The Fountain, Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, Woody Allen's Scoop and opposite Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia. In addition, he leant his voice to the animated features Happy Feet and Flushed Away. He has also played leading roles in DreamWork's Real Steel, Someone Like You, Swordfish, Van Helsing and Kate and Leopold, for which he received a 2002 Golden Globe nomination. Hugh just finished a record breaking, SRO run at New York's Broadhurst Theatre in Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway. Early this year he will begin filming the screen adaption of the musical Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper.
Aaron Sorkin (Book). Academy-Award winning writer Aaron Sorkin graduated from Syracuse University with a B.F.A. in Theatre in 1983. He made his Broadway playwriting debut at the age of 28 with the military courtroom drama, A Few Good Men, for which he received the John Gassner Award as Outstanding New American Playwright. The following year saw his off-Broadway play, Making Movies and in 2007 he returned to Broadway with The Farnsworth Invention, directed by Des McAnuff. Most recently, Mr. Sorkin's film, The Social Network, earned him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as a Golden Globe, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Writers Guild Award and the USC Scripter Award. The film, directed by David Fincher, was named Best Drama at the Golden Globes, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and appeared on over 350 critics' lists of the top ten films of 2010. His film adaptation of A Few Good Men was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and five Golden Globes, including Best Screenplay. He followed this success with the screenplays for Malice, starring Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman, and The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. Mr. Sorkin produced and wrote the television series "Sports Night" for ABC for two years, winning the Humanitas Prize and the Television Critics Association Award. He spent the next four years writing and producing the NBC series "The West Wing," winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series all four years. For his work on "The West Wing," Mr. Sorkin also twice received the Peabody Award and the Humanitas Prize, and three Television Critics Association Awards. He also won a Golden Globe, a Writers Guild Award and three Producers Guild Awards. In 2006, Mr. Sorkin wrote and produced the NBC television series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." He also wrote the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts. Mr. Sorkin's latest television series, "The Newsroom," will debut on HBO this summer. He recently adapted Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt, for which he won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay. Mr. Sorkin has acquired the rights to The Politician, the best-selling book by Andrew Young about the downfall of former Senator John Edwards. He will adapt the book and make his directorial debut with The Politician, which he will also produce.
Stephen Schwartz (Music & Lyrics) is currently represented on Broadway by Wicked and Godspell. He has contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker's Wife, Working, Rags, Children of Eden, My Fairytale and Wicked. He has also collaborated with composer Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted, Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame and wrote the songs for DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt. He has written an opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon; English texts for Bernstein's Mass; and two musicals for children, Captain Louie and My Son, Pinocchio. Schwartz has released two CDs of original songs, Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory, and his career is the subject of the book Defying Gravity. He is the current president of the Dramatists Guild and has been inducted in to the Theatre Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards and four Drama Desk Awards. www.stephenschwartz.com.
JACK O'BRIEN (Director). Broadway: Catch Me if You Can; Impressionism; The Coast of Utopia (Tony Awards 2007, Best Director and Play); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nominations 2005, Best Director and Musical); Henry IV (Tony Awards 2004, Best Director and Play Revival); Hairspray (Tony Awards 2003 and Drama Desk Awards, Best Director and Musical); Imaginary Friends; The Invention of Love (Tony nominations, Best Director and Play; Drama Desk Award, Best Director); The Full Monty (Tony nominations, Best Director and Musical); More to Love; Getting Away With Murder; Pride's Crossing; The Little Foxes; Hapgood (Lucille Lortel Award, Best Director); Damn Yankees (Tony nomination, Best Musical Revival); Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nominations, Best Director and Play); Porgy and Bess (Tony Award, Most Innovative Revival; Best Director nomination); St. Louis Woman; The Most Happy Fella. For the Metropolitan Opera, Il Trittico, 2007. London: Love Never Dies; Hairspray (Olivier Award Nominations, Best Director and Musical); His Girl Friday. Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, from 1981-2007. Six movies for PBS's "American Playhouse." Awards: Artserve Michigan 2008 International Achievement Award; 2008 Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee; National Theatre Conference 2007 Person of the Year; 2005 John Houseman Award; 2007 and 2001 Joan Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity, 2004 Thomas Degaetani Award (USITT), 2002 "Mr. Abbott" Award (SDCF); 2001 Joe A. Callaway Award (SDCF); the Drama League's 2001 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing. Member, College of Fellows of the American Theatre; Honorary Doctorate, University of San Diego; Honorary Doctorate, University of Michigan. Film (as an actor): Sex and the City: 2.
Scott Sanders (Producer) is an Emmy and Tony Award-winning theatrical, film and television producer and president of Scott Sanders Productions. On Broadway he is the co-lead producer of the upcoming first ever Broadway revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita starring Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and Michael Cerveris. He was also the lead producer of the musical stage version of Alice Walker's novel and the Stephen Spielberg film, The Color Purple, with partner Oprah Winfrey. Last season he produced The Pee-Wee Herman Show which, after a successful run in Los Angeles and on Broadway, was turned into an Emmy nominated HBO special. Additional Broadway credits include Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, and Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance. Sanders was also Executive Producer for Queen Latifah's jazz vocal recording, "The Dana Owens Album," which received a 2005 Grammy nomination. He was president of Mandalay Television and executive produced six network series in association with Columbia TriStar Television. Scott Sanders Productions' film division has a first look deal with Walt Disney Pictures and is producing several feature films for them, including The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a modern fable, written and directed by Peter Hedges, starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton. It is scheduled for wide release on August 15, 2012. The company's theatre division also has numerous musicals on its developmental slate.
David Rockwell (Producer/Scenic Design) designed the sets for The Normal Heart, Catch Me If You Can, A Free Man of Color, Elf-The Musical, Hairspray (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Laurence Olivier nominations), Legally Blonde The Musical (Drama Desk nomination), The Rocky Horror Show (Drama Desk Nomination), All Shook Up (Drama Desk Nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Armed and Naked in America, Omnium Gatherum, Let Me Down Easy, Ever After, and, for film, Team America. For television he was production designer for the Emmy Award nominated 81st and Emmy Award-winning 82nd Annual Academy Awards telecasts. He is the founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, a New York-based architecture and design firm. Projects include Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis, the Kodak Theatre; Hotel Bel-Air; JetBlue's Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Imagination Playground, the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, Aloft Hotels, W Paris-Opera, W Union Square, Nobu, Nobu Fifty Seven and Maialino. Rockwell was honored with the 2008 National Design Award by Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt for outstanding achievement in Interior Design, was the honoree at the 2009 Pratt Legends Award, the 2008 Public Theater Gala, is included in Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame, and received the Presidential Design Award. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and serves on the board of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Spectacle, a book by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, was published by Phaidon in 2006.
Kurt Andersen, who had an instrumental role as a member of the creative team that developed the HOUDINI project over the last several years, will continue to serve as a creative consultant.