Cameron Crowe’s 2000 film Almost Famous will premiere in San Diego this September. Crowe announced that the musical was in production last fall following a few years of development with composer Tom Kitt.
As part of San Diego theater the Old Globe’s 2019-2020 season, Almost Famous will return to its “home” city: not only is it Crowe’s hometown but it is also where the semi-autobiographical tale about a teenage Rolling Stone writer is set. Performances will begin on September 13th with the opening night set for September 27th.
“Almost Famous is such a personal thing for me,” Crowe tells Rolling Stone. “It’s always held a special place in my heart, not just because it’s about music and journalism and my family, but because it’s also about a lot of the indelible characters I was lucky enough to meet along the way. Some are still with us, many are gone, but the movie lives on as a kind of tribute to the power of the right song on the right day… it can change your life’s course in a single note.”
Crowe adapted his Oscar-winning screenplay to the show’s book and co-wrote the lyrics with Kitt as well. Along with original music, the film will also feature era-appropriaterock classics. Tony Award nominee Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, Noises Off) has since been attached as director. Crowe notes that finding this team made him realize that the production would be “intimate and right.” Casting and design team have yet to be officially announced.
“Many great surprises have cropped up along the way,” Crowe says, detailing the serendipitous pairing of the musical with its soon-to-be home. The theater is also a half-mile away from the downtown radio station where he first met hero and mentor Lester Bangs, a meeting replicated in the film. “My family used to live in an apartment on 6th Street in San Diego, right across the street from Balboa Park and the Old Globe. My parents would take me to see some of the great plays by Shakespeare right there in the park.”
Almost Famous trails 15-year-old William Miller’s first Rolling Stone assignment. The aspiring journalist goes on the road with rising rock stars Stillwater, who take the once-sheltered into the depths of the sordid Seventies rock world. Patrick Fugit, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson and Billy Crudup starred in the film.
As for the timing of the musical, Crowe feels thankful for Netflix’s music critic comedy Someone Great, which had been influenced by Almost Famous and featured a couple nods to the film as well. “It all feels like fun destiny, and also, not too bad that we can join Someone Great as a chance to wave the flag again for music journalism and all that can come from a simple thing like loving music.”