Why I am producing The Visit on Broadway.
If you read the Arts & Leisure section of the NY Times in print then you may have caught a full page ad for the upcoming Broadway musical, The Visit.
And if you looked closely at those names above the title, you might have noticed that mine was among ‘em!
Yep, that’s right, I’m proud to be one of the producers on this brand new, daring musical by John Kander, the late Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally and starring Broadway legend Chita Rivera and one of my favorite actors, Roger Rees. (Quite a team, wouldn’t you say?)
The Visit is, like most Broadway musicals, an adaptation of another work. But what makes The Visit even more unique is that it’s an adaptation of a play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
And what is it about you ask?
For those of you who don’t know the story, here’s the marketing copy direct from our website:
The legendary CHITA RIVERA is back on Broadway in her juiciest role yet. She’s Claire Zachanassian, the world’s wealthiest woman, who returns home to the man (ROGER REES) who captured her heart then shattered her dreams. What she does next shocks the town, and makes for the most thrilling new musical in years.
If you want to know the spoiler, you can read the summary of the story on the play’s Wikipedia page here.
If you don’t want to know it, well, let’s put it this way . . . it’s not the stuff that musicals are usually made of.
And that’s exactly why I’m producing it.
I remember seeing an interview with Kander and Ebb years ago that asked them where they got their ideas for their shows, since they had written milestone and groundbreaking musicals such as Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Scottsboro Boys and more.
Their answer was something like . . .
“When we find a story that at first glance doesn’t sound like a musical, that’s when we know we have to make it a musical.”
Kander and Ebb push the boundaries of the musical form. They challenge themselves and they challenge audiences and the art form is better for it.
Add to their dynamic duo the envelope-pushing Director John Doyle, my favorite playwright on the planet, Terrence McNally (this will be my 3rd McNally in 12 months), and my friend and lead producer Tom Kirdahy, who has worked his tail off on It’s Only A Play, and, well, you can see why I’d sign on in a nanosecond.
Why sure, it may not be my most commercial venture (although no one thought Chicago would be commercial either). And I’ll be letting my investors know exactly where it sits on the risk-o-meter.
But as a Producer and more importantly as a musical theater fan, it might be riskier to not produce shows like The Visit.
Because if we don’t get them produced, and if we don’t go to see them, the theaters might end up filled with jukebox musicals and second rate star driven revivals.
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