Well known film producer Harvey Weinstein is hoping to bring the stage version of “Finding Neverland” to West End next year, and to Broadway the following season.
Though Weinstein has taken an investor role in around 35 previous Broadway plays, this will be his first time as lead producer with the musical based on the life of playwright J.M. Barrie, who created Peter Pan. He also is taking an active role in the development of the play, telling the New York Times that, “The show needs to get better.” And to make that happen, he’s bringing in some well known names.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, producer Jordan Roth and actor James Corden all contributed advice on how to improve the show, which is based on a 2004 film of the same name. Even Bono and the Edge from U2 gave some advice, following their work writing the musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” The stage version of the production opened in Leicester, England last month to mixed reviews.
“Everyone pretty much concurred that it’s Act I that needs fixing, the first 20 minutes especially, as we figure out the best ways to introduce the characters, set up their relationships,” Weinstein told the Times, adding that he should not have cut a character played in the film version by Dustin Hoffman. “That character gave the production levity, so restoring him is one of the first things we’ll try.”
Weinstein also said that producing the play is his way of trying something new, and that he was inspired by recent theatrical work of many other film producers.
“I wanted to take a new risk artistically,” he said. “The Leicester run was a humbling experience for me, and a good one, because now we know what to fix and are excited to have the chance.”