Finding Neverland, the glorious new musical under the visionary direction of Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, will soon arrive on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street). The company just met the press, and BroadwayWorld brings you interviews and a sneak preview below!
Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and the play THE MAN WHO WAS PETER PAN by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – one of the most beloved stories of all time.
Directed by Tony-winner Diane Paulus (PIPPIN, HAIR)with book by Olivier Award -nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (TAKE THAT) and Grammy Award-winner Eliot Kennedy, choreography by Emmy Award-winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil‘s Delirium), this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.
FEATURING JOHN LEGEND, NICK JONAS, RITA ORA, MATTHEW MORRISON AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
New York, NY (February 26, 2015) – In tandem with the Broadway debut of Weinstein Live Entertainment’s Finding Neverland, with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, Republic Records announces Finding Neverland (Songs from the Musical) to be released on April 21st.
The record will feature marquee artists, such as Rita Ora, reinterpreting songs from the production in addition to contributions by star Matthew Morrison and composer Gary Barlow. Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winner John Legend and superstar Nick Jonas also join the compilation—as officially announced today.
“When I first heard Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy’s bold and exciting music for ‘Finding Neverland,’ I loved the mix of their contemporary sound with this classic and timeless story,” said producer Harvey Weinstein. “This album is a great opportunity to have some of today’s most popular and innovative recording artists help introduce the music to the world.”
“I am always looking for ways the theater can reach a broader audience, and to have all these incredible recording artists re-imagining the songs from our show is thrilling,” said Director Diane Paulus.
Republic Records Executive Vice President and West Coast General Manager Tom Mackay comments, “We’re working together with The Weinstein Company to create a very unique musical companion that will augment the production and expand its influence. It’s a thrilling project.”
This past weekend, Rita Ora, Matthew Morrison, and Gary Barlow took the stage at the Weinstein Company’s legendary pre-Oscar party to perform songs from Finding Neverland for the very first time. They enchanted the entire audience, increasing excitement for the forthcoming release.
More news and information about Finding Neverland (Songs from the Musical) will be released soon!
Based on the Academy Award-winning motion picture by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – one of the most beloved stories of all time. Starring Matthew Morrison (“Glee,” South Pacific), Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier,” La Cage aux Folles) and Laura Michelle Kelly (Mary Poppins), the production is directed by Tony®-winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair)with book by Olivier Award®-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by multi-award winning singer songwriter Gary Barlow (Take That) and Grammy Award®-winner Eliot Kennedy, choreography by Emmy Award®-winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium), this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up. Finding Neverland begins performances on March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street) with an official opening slated for April 15. For more information, please visit www.FindingNeverlandTheMusical.com.
Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly, and the stars of Finding Neverland offered the press a sneak peek at the new Broadway musical in their rehearsal studio on February 26. Directed by Diane Paulus, the production begins performances March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre before opening on April 15.
Featuring a score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham,Finding Neverland explores the friendship of playwright J.M. Barrie’s and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, a widowed mother whose four boys inspired the beloved Peter Panstories. It is based on the 2004 film of the same title, which itself was based on Allan Knee’s play The Man Who Was Peter Pan. The show played a 2014 tryout run atAmerican Repertory Theater.
Morrison leads the cast as Barrie, alongside Kelly as Llewelyn Davies and Grammer as Charles Frohman/Captain Hook. Also featured in the cast are Carolee Carmello, Teal Wicks, Alex Dreier, Aidan Gemme, Jackson DeMott Hill, Noah Hinsdale, Sawyer Nunes, Chris Richards, Hayden Signoretti, Courtney Balan, Dana Costello, Colin Cunliffe, Rory Donovan, Chris Dwan, Kevin Kern, Josh Lamon, Melanie Moore, Mary Page Nance, Fred Odgaard, Emma Pfaeffle, Jonathan Ritter, Tyley Ross, Julius Anthony Rubio, Paul Slade Smith, Ron Todorowski, Jaime Verazin, and Jessica Vosk.
Check out photos of the stars in performance in the gallery.
How do you get to Broadway.com’s NYC offices? Follow the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning! Finding Neverland stars Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer, and director Diane Paulus and producer Harvey Weinstein stopped by the website’s headquarters on February 25 to chat about the new musical with the Group Sales team. Featuring music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham, Finding Neverlandfollows J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, who became the inspiration to write Peter Pan. Check out these shots of the magical visit, then see Finding Neverland beginning March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
And just yesterday, the cast and crew gathered for their final day of shooting. Yes, their absolute last day of filming.
“We just wrapped about an hour ago,” Matthew Morrison exclusively told me late last night at the Weinstein Company’s pre-Oscar party at the Montage in Beverly Hills. “It was a tough day. I’m not going to cry now because I kind of got it all out, but it was a really tough day.”
Morrison sings the final song in the final scene of the series finale. I’m not going to spoil anything by telling you what song, but Morrison said, “It was a beautiful send-off. But it was tough. I was singing to all the kids and Amber Riley starts crying and I’m like, ‘Come on, don’t do this to me right now.’ And then Lea Michele starts crying and then Darren Criss and Chris Colfer.”
Morrison had to rush from the set to get to the Montage to perform a number from his upcoming coming Broadway return, Finding Neverland (more on that later).
“There were a lot of hugs and a lot of tears,” he said, adding, “It’s been an amazing almost seven years.”
The new Broadway musical Finding Neverland, a story about how Peter became Pan, will host an inaugural fundraiser to benefit Alliance To Rescue Victims of Trafficking (ATRVT) March 21.
Alliance To Rescue Victims of Trafficking, a Washington D.C. foundation established to help rescue victims of child sex trafficking, was established in 2014 by author and journalist Conchita Sarnoff, who serves as executive director.
The mission of ATRVT is to “rescue and rehabilitate sex-trafficked victims in North America, to establish the first ‘safe house’ for girls who have been trafficked for sex and to raise awareness for what has been described as ‘the largest slave trade in history.'”
The March 21 benefit event includes a pre-show VIP cocktail reception at New York’s Le Cirque Restaurant (151 E. 58th Street) at 5 PM, followed by transportation to Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 W. 46th St.) for VIP seating at the 8 PM performance of Finding Neverland.
“We are so grateful to the producers of Finding Neverland for graciously hosting this unique inaugural benefit event for the Alliance To Rescue Victims of Trafficking,” said Sarnoff in a statement. “There are currently more than 22.7 million children trafficked for sex globally, and that number continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.
“Recent congressional reports show there are more than 300,000 child sex trafficked victims in the United States alone, and New York and Washington D.C. are the top two cities with the highest concentration of victims in the country. In addition to rescuing and recovering these children, ATRVT is working to establish the first safe home for sex-trafficked girls, ages 6-12, in the metro D.C. area this year.”
The musical, opening April 15, is based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name, and follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer — and the man — he yearns to be.
After a rocky launch abroad, Harvey Weinstein’s Peter Pan creation tale Finding Neverland—starring Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly—sets sail for Broadway.
If you had followed Matthew Morrison’s career on the musical stage, you would have seen him grow from a lanky, loose-limbed teenager (Footloose, Hairspray) to an effortlessly masculine, Tony-nominated leading man (The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific) with the looks, charisma, and triple-threat chops to become that rare bird—a bona fide Broadway star. But then along came a TV show about a high-drama, high-decibel high school glee club, and when Morrison was cast as the school’s hunky Spanish teacher with an unexpected gift for staging high-octane production numbers, it kept him in Los Angeles for the next six years. Now, withGlee’s final season in the can, Morrison is returning to the New York stage as the star of Finding Neverland, a new Harvey Weinstein–produced musical based on the Harvey Weinstein–produced film of the same name. “I’m at a turning point in my life,” Morrison says. “I’m coming off a hugely successful television show, I’m newly married”—to the actress Renee Puente—“and I’m coming back to New York with a lot to prove. I’ve never been the outright lead of a show before, so it’s mine to carry, and—I’m not going to lie—I’m nervous about it.”
It’s a perfect place to be to portray an unsure-of-himself playwright who finds a new lease on life as both an artist and a man. That playwright, of course, is J. M. Barrie (played in the film by Johnny Depp), a sort of Edwardian Neil Simon trapped in a loveless marriage and stuck in a career rut (Kelsey Grammer plays his increasingly exasperated producer and, in several fantasy sequences, his subconscious shadow, Captain Hook) who, through the chaste love of a young widow (Laura Michelle Kelly) and the friendship of her four sons, to whom he becomes a surrogate father, overcomes self-doubt, writer’s block, and a series of demons both real and imagined to create the immortal Peter Pan.
The production features a script by the rising young English playwright James Graham (his 2012 drama This House, about backroom doings in the House of Commons during the tumultuous 1970s, was a hit at the National Theatre), an infectious pop score byX Factor judge and Take That frontman Gary Barlow and producer-songwriter Eliot Kennedy, and hallucinatory sets by Scott Pask (It’s Only a Play). Diane Paulus, whose recent circus-themed revival of Pippin showed her gift for exploring the intersection of showbiz razzle-dazzle and psychological realism, directs. “It’s a love letter to the theater that depicts the ups and downs—and all the hair that gets pulled out—in the creation of something remarkable,” Paulus says. “When J. M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan, it was avant-garde; Finding Neverland asks, ‘How far do you have to go—and how much faith do you have to rely on—to support something risky and different?’ ”
The answer, based on the show’s history: a lot. If it’s about the power of imagination and belief, no one has shown more of both—along with steamroller-like tenacity—than its producer, without whom Finding Neverland would never have found its way to Broadway. Weinstein commissioned a blue-chip creative team—Allan Knee, who wrote the play that the movie was based on; the songwriting team of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens); and the director/choreographer Rob Ashford (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying)—for what became a 2012 production at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, England, with Julian Ovenden as Barrie. Despite the show’s inventive stagecraft and soaring music, Weinstein scrapped it from top to bottom and brought in a new creative team when critics found it simply too earthbound. This updated version, starring Jeremy Jordan (Smash) as Barrie, played to mixed reviews (and record-breaking audiences) at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last summer. Its current Broadway incarnation, meanwhile, features a new opening number, new songs, a revamped script, more lavish sets, and, in Morrison, a new leading man. Paulus’s description of steering the ship toward New York captures the central theme of both Peter Pan andFinding Neverland: “You start from this infinite sense of time and dreams,” she says, “and then pretty quickly the clock starts ticking, and every step of the journey you’re battling time.”
Morrison is looking forward not just to letting his song-and-dance flag fly but to delving into the character of Barrie, a complex man who first came up with the idea of Neverland at age six after the death of his beloved older brother. “That was when he lost his boyhood—he had to grow up at that moment—and it’s so inspiring to see him, as an adult, discovering the spark of creation and imagination and play that he never got to experience growing up,” Morrison says. “It’s funny—he writes a play about a boy who won’t grow up, and grows up himself in the process.”
As he gets set to return to Broadway, Morrison is reconnecting with his own inner child—one who fell in love with singing and dancing onstage at age ten when he starred in a show at summer camp. Of course, after six seasons in the groves of television, getting his voice in shape for eight shows a week requires more than just make-believe, and so he’s spent the past year taking singing lessons, doing daily vocal exercises, and giving a series of concerts around the country with various symphony orchestras—most recently at Carnegie Hall with his Light in the Piazza and South Pacific costar Kelli O’Hara. And while Broadway may not be Neverland and the stage may only give the illusion of stopping time, as Morrison says, “It’s the place where I feel most at home, and I don’t think I realized that until I went off and did a TV show. The chance to deepen your performance night after night, and the connection that you can make with a live audience—I’ve missed it so much, and I can’t wait to get that rush again. Honestly, I find no greater joy in my life.”