Rock n’ Roll Hall-of-Famer Dion DiMucci – best known simply as Dion for his hits including “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” – is the latest classic rocker to get the jukebox musical treatment. The Wanderer: Based On The Life and Music Of Dion will have its world premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse in a 2020 pre-Broadway engagement.
Producer Jill Menza announced today that the musical, titled The Wanderer, will open at the Paper Mill in Spring of 2020 prior to an expected Broadway run. Casting and a Broadway timeline will be announced at a later date.
With a book by playwright Charles Messina (A Room Of My Own), The Wanderer will be directed by Kenneth Ferrone, who produced the recent Rent on Fox and the Cruel Intentions national tour. Additional creative team will be announced shortly.
In addition to “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” the legendary doo-wop-style singer also recorded big hits such as “Teenager in Love,” “I Wonder Why,” “Ruby Baby,” and “Abraham, Martin and John.”
“If you told me as a young man that one day my journey from The Bronx to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame would become a musical, I would not have believed you,” said Dion in a statement. “It’s only 12 miles from Belmont Avenue to Broadway. It shouldn’t have taken this long!”
“We are thrilled and honored that the next step for our show on its way to Broadway will be a production at New Jersey’s prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse,” said producer Menza.
Today’s announcement indicated that The Wanderer will not shy away from Dion’s battles with addiction and “the darker side of fame and success.” One of the most popular singers of the 1950s and ’60, Dion scored 30 Top 40 hits, and was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
The Wanderer joins an ever-growing list of jukebox musicals hitting Broadway in recent seasons, from the critically praised hits (the Carole King bio-musical Beautiful) to the not-so-successful (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) and everything in-between (The Cher Show). The most recent, Ain’t Too Proud about the Temptations, is currently in previews and opens Thursday at the Imperial Theatre.
Here is the poster released today for the Paper Mill announcement: