EXCLUSIVE Updates with more information: Harvey Weinstein's well-tended production of Finding Neverland has booked a Nederlander theater and will open on Broadway in the spring, I've learned. Weinstein was not available for comment, but the show officially opens tonight at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, its second tryout and totally revised from an earlier U.K. production. The musical is, of course, based on Miramax's 2004 Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet film and has been a project close to Harvey's heart.
The confirmed Broadway booking adds to tonight's opening-night drama in Harvard Yard because I'm also told that the New York Times has dispatched its chief drama critic, Ben Brantley, to review the show. Although Brantley is a regular on some A.R.T. shows, the Times hasn't in the past reviewed when a Broadway booking has been made. I haven't had a response yet from the Times about whether this is a change of policy, but it is obviously of concern to the producers, esecially given the show's turbulent gestation so far.
Finding Neverland had a score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie when it opened to not-so-great notices in 2012. Since then, the show has been completely revamped, with songs by U.K. pop writers Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and book by James Graham. Staging duties were taken over by A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus (Pippin, The Gershwins' Porgy And Bess), with choreography by Emmy winner Mia Michaels. Weinstein has been involved in other Broadway shows, but Finding Neverland has been hands-on for him from the beginning.