Musical-theater rehab may be the theme of Broadway’s upcoming season, as The First Wives Club becomes the second show in recent weeks to emerge from turnaround following an abortive tryout (as was the case with the revised, rewritten and re-scored Finding Neverland, which is about to begin its second out-of-town run, this time at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA).
Executive producer Elizabeth Williams and producers Jonas Neilson and Paul Lambert announced this morning that a revamped version of The First Wives Club, with a new book and a new director, will open at Chicago’s Oriental Theater next spring, aiming for a Broadway opening in the 1015-2016 season. Five-time Emmy winner and FOB&HRC Linda Bloodworth Thomason (Designing Women) has replaced Rupert Holmes (The Mystery Of Edwin Drood) as the book writer of the show, based on the Olivia Goldsmith novel and 1996 Paramount film.
Simon Phillips (Love Never Dies, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert) has replaced Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid) as director. Holmes will retain a portion of the book credit. of course, no one will replace the Holland-Dozier-Holland score of classics and new material. The earlier version had its premiere in 2009 at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater.