With their movie plans in flux, Archie and the gang have set their sights on Broadway, where balloon-speaking characters based on regular folks (Annie, Charlie Brown, Li’l Abner) tend to fare better than superheroes (Superman, Spider-Man). Writer-director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) and Funny Or Die productions have joined forces with Archie Comics’ CEO Jon Goldwater and CCO Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (who attempted a salvage operation on the ill-fated Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark) to try their collective hand at spinning the Riverdale gang into box-office gold.
McKay will write the book for the show, with a creative team and timing for a New York run to be announced at a later date. Funny Or Die will serve as a presenting partner. Goldwater and Aguirre-Sacasa will oversee for Archie Comics. The partnership was packaged by Triptyk Studios’ (An American In Paris) Tara Smith, B. Swibel and Adam Westbrook, who will oversee development.
Deadline reported in 2013 plans by several members of this same team to develop a feature film based on the proto-Seinfeldian something-about-nothing-in-particular adventures of eternal high schoolers Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and their cohort. Alien zombies were also mentioned.
Funny Or Die was unveiled in 2007 by Gary Sanchez Productions (Will Ferrell, McKay and Chris Henchy) and CAA. Judd Apatow is also a principal partner.
“Archie represents a bygone era of America,” McKay — longtime partner with Ferrell and ex-Saturday Night Live head writer — said in announcing the deal. “And like all bygone eras, there are elements we miss and elements that should be bygone. This will be a musical that deals with both those realities in a bright, colorful and slightly demented way.”
Triptyk Studios has been involved with Broadway’s An American In Paris and Xanadu, as well as Ferrell and McKay’s hit Broadway special,You’re Welcome America. Currently in the works are Amelie, a new musical directed by Pam MacKinnon and starring Samantha Barks (Eponine in the Les Miserables film), opening September 11 at Berkeley Repertory in a Broadway tryout; Xanadu in its London premiere in October; and a new Stevie Wonder musical, Freedom Run, with NBCUniversal Stage.