BREAKING: Hugh Jackman has sealed his return to Broadway for the 2013-2014 season in Houdini, which marks the librettist debut of Aaron Sorkin, with music by Stephen Schwartz. Jack O’Brien has been set to direct the production, which will be presented by producer Scott Sanders and David Rockwell, the latter of whom will design the sets. The musical has been long in the works — at one time Danny Elfman was working on the music — and the creatives say they’ve now got a version that will bring an original and contemporary feel to the life and death of America’s first superstar.
Jackman, whose Broadway turns include the musical The Boy From Oz and a run of the Keith Huff play A Steady Rain with Daniel Craig, most recently finished a sold-out run of Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway. Jackman’s about to start the movie musical Les Miserables, directed by The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper for for holiday 2012 release by Universal Pictures.
Said Jackman: “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. I am thrilled to be collaborating with this collection of artists who are all at the top of their game.”
Sorkin, who won the Oscar for The Social Network, is a six-time Emmy winner and wrote A Few Good Men for the stage, described his way into the material. “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,” Sorkin said. “The chance to collaborate with Stephen Schwartz, Jack O’Brien and Hugh Jackman on a new Broadway musical is a huge gift.”
Sanders, a lead producer of The Color Purple on Broadway, most recently was producer of The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway and is co-lead producer of the upcoming Broadway revival of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita with Ricky Martin, Elena Roger and Michael Cerveris.