Thanks to the success of the Billy Joel-driven Movin’ Out and the Abba-inspired Mamma Mia!, more rockers are Broadway-bound. In 2005, musicals based on the works of John Lennon, the Beach Boys, Rod Stewart and Elvis Presley will be hitting the stage.
The Beach Boys musical, tentatively titled Good Vibrations, is expected to be a coming-of-age story, set in a California beach town and not a biographical tale of the band. The musical will be directed by John Carrafa (Into the Woods) and its producers got the rights to the Boys’ entire catalog, so expect classics such as “Don’t Worry Baby” and “I Get Around.”
Likewise, the musicals based on the music of Stewart and Elvis won’t be biographical. The former, Tonight’s the Night, follows Stu Clutterbuck, a shy mechanic who idolizes Rod Stewart. To earn a date with his dream girl, he agrees to a life in hell in exchange for his hero’s soul. The musical comedy will use twenty hits, including “Maggie May” and “You’re in My Heart.”
The Presley musical, titled All Shook Up, is described as the story of a handsome stranger who reawakens a loveless town with help from a magical jukebox. With permission from the Presley estate, the show will include a collection of twenty tunes, ranging from “Burning Love” to “Don’t Be Cruel.”
Twelve actors will play John Lennon in an as-yet untitled musical, dissecting his multiple moods and personalities during his post-Beatles era. The program will include thirty Lennon solo songs, approved by Yoko Ono and performed by a rock band/eight-piece orchestra combination.
“George Gershwin and Jerome Kern don’t speak to the youth of today,” says Don Scardino, producer of the Lennon musical and a co-developer of the Beach Boys show. “These musicals tap into a new audience.”