Following a six-year run on ABC, CMT and Hulu, Nashville is headed for the Great White Way. Lionsgate, the powerhouse Hollywood studio that produced the drama series in conjunction with ABC Studios, has revealed plans to breathe new life into the show’s familiar characters with an upcoming Broadway musical.
Scott Delman, a 10-time Tony Award winner who has produced or co-produced 55 Broadway productions, including the musicals Mean Girls, Hello Dolly!, American Idiot and The Book of Mormon, has acquired the live theatrical rights from Lionsgate and ABC Studios and will serve as lead producer of the new musical. Nashville marks the first in a planned series of live stage productions based on Lionsgate film and television properties, according to a press release.
“Nashville, with its complex, relatable characters and sweeping emotional gestures, has all of the narrative elements that I look for in great theatrical source material,” Delman said in a statement. “From that rich DNA, we will be building an original story with entirely original music written by major Nashville and Broadway songwriters. We are particularly excited to deliver Broadway’s first score of true contemporary country music — a genre that has exploded with mainstream audiences in recent years.”
Although the cast, production dates and other details have yet to be announced, at least one Nashville cast alum, Charles Esten, who played songwriter Deacon Claybourne, boasts an impressive stage credit to consider: he portrayed rock & roll pioneer Buddy Holly in London’s 1991 West End production of the jukebox musical Buddy. He also appeared in the show when it later toured the U.S.
“I got to spend so much time on stage that any nerves I might have had about performing in front of a live audience just went away,” Esten told Cowboys & Indians in 2015. “Like, there was a night on stage [in London] when I just thought, ‘Oh, wow. I’m not nervous at all. This is what I want to be doing.’ Meanwhile, I’m getting to play those unbelievable songs throughout the show — which was very, very cool.”
The series finale of Nashville aired on CMT last July. Throughout the show’s run, several cast members participated in concert tours across the U.S. and abroad.