‘Beaches’ Musical Expected to Play London in 2019 Before Coming to Broadway (Exclusive)
By Leigh Scheps
Buena Vista Pictures
A musical adaptation of the 1988 Bette Midler film Beaches is expected to first hit the West End in London in 2019 before coming to Broadway.
“That would be the hope,” Iris Rainer Dart, 74, who wrote the novel of which the movie is based, reveals to ET. “I feel very lucky, first of all, to be my age and doing this. The theater has much less ageism than the movie and television business.”
Lonny Price (Desperate Housewives) has signed on to direct the show with a book by Dart and score by Dart and newcomer David Austin. The story, which takes place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is about two friends from different backgrounds who keep a long-lasting relationship after going their separate ways. Right now, the stage production is in the workshop stage, where the creative team is writing new songs and rewriting dialogue. “We're just listening, refining, redoing and seeing which songs work and which ones don't,” Dart explains.
In 2014 and 2015, there were two mounted productions of the musical, each with different casts. One played the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, and the other at the Drury Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. While Dart wouldn’t reveal any casting choices moving forward, she hopes to incorporate some of the talent from both incarnations.
In addition to the stage adaptation, Lifetime recently remade the film for TV with Idina Menzel and Nia Long taking on the roles originated by Midler and Barbara Hershey, respectively.
Beaches will be Dart’s second musical after 2011’s People in the Picture starring Donna Murphy, which went straight to Broadway and ran for a limited engagement of 10 weeks. She says of the experience: “One of the things I've learned is to never open a show on Broadway before you've been out of town.”
Meanwhile, Beaches is just the latest late ‘80s/early ‘90s classic film to be reimagined for the stage, following the successful run of Groundhog Day, which earned seven Tony Award nominations in 2017, and the upcoming Pretty Woman: The Musical, which is set to open on Broadway in July 2018.
In addition to the newly announced Broadway Vacation musical adapted from National Lampoon’s Griswold family film franchise, Cyndi Lauper is still working on new music for Working Girl, based on the 1988 romantic comedy starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford. “I'm hoping to actually finish Working Girl while I still have teeth in my mouth,” Lauper joked with ET while promoting her upcoming summer tour with Rod Stewart.