Academy Award and Grammy Award winning composer Stephen Schwartz, who is best known for his work in Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked, is bringing a new musical to Broadway during the 2013-2014 season entitled Houdini. Prior to its opening on the big stage, the new musical may be making its way to Chicago for a Pre-Broadway premiere, according to an interview with the Associated Press.
Houdini will star Hugh Jackman in the title role as the remarkable illusionist. Schwartz has tailored the role of the character specifically for him saying in an interview with AP, “I’m specifically writing for Hugh, in terms of what I think will sound good in his voice and what sorts of things will really help him to do the things that he does. Where does he want to stretch himself? Where does he want to do something that he feels he has and we feel he has that he hasn’t really shown before?”
In addition to writing for Jackman, Schwartz is also creating the musical score for the show. Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien who serves as the show’s musical director told Broadway.com, “The two ballads Stephen has written, one that closes Act I and one that closes the show, are among the greatest things he’s ever written. Hugh just kills with them. It’s vintage Schwartz, it’s gorgeous.”
As the title suggests, the show will tell the story of illusionist extraordinaire Houdini. It is produced by Scott Sanders and David Rockwell who are also responsible for set design.
For now, Schwartz has said he and a librettist who he left unnamed are working diligently on finishing up the project. The musical’s entire first act is complete and they are promptly moving on to the next.
Additional show information will be released at a later time. A preliminary stage reading is planned for sometime in December.