A Neil Diamond bio-musical, with a score by the iconic singer-songwriter and a book by Bohemian Rhapsody writer Anthony McCarten, is heading to Broadway. Producers Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio announced today that the as-yet-untitled project is in development.
Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening) will direct.
Diamond – the man behind “Sweet Caroline,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and “Song Sung Blue,” to name just a small few – said in a statement, “I’ve always loved Broadway. The inspiration for many of my early songs came from shows like West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, so it seems only fitting to bring my songs to The Great White Way. I’m honored and excited to be working with this great team.”
Said McCarten, “On the mantle-piece in my childhood home in New Zealand, there were always two pictures: one was of the Pope, the other of Neil Diamond. The epic musical catalogue of this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer flowed endlessly off our family record player. As a child you took it into yourself, and to this day I can recite the lyrics of his hits deep into their second or third verses. Imagine my excitement, then, when the opportunity arose to work with Neil on a musical based on his life and music. A very, very easy and so sweet ‘Yes!’”
Producer Gaudio (a founding member of the Jersey Boys‘ Four Seasons) added, “Having been intimately associated with one very special biographical musical, I am clearly a fan of the form. And as a fellow member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I remain in awe of Neil Diamond’s contribution to American popular culture, music, and of his incredible life story.”
Additional details will be announced shortly.
The production certainly won’t be lacking in hits: Diamond has charted 39 Top 40 singles and 16 Top 10 albums both in the U.S. and internationally, including “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Longfellow Serenade,” “America,” “Cherry, Cherry,” among many others. After an early Brill Building career as a songwriter for other artists (most notably The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”), Diamond had his first big hit at a solo artist in 1966 with “Solitary Man.”
While his greatest successes came in the music business – multiple Grammy Awards, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, among many other accolades – Diamond crossed over into film with 1980’s critically panned remake of The Jazz Singer, co-starring Laurence Olivier and Lucie Arnaz.
Last year, Diamond announced his retirement from concert touring following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
McCarten, now best known for the multi-Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody, has other screenwriting credits including The Theory Of Everything (2014) and Darkest Hour (2017). Beginning his career as a playwright, he received early international success with his play Ladies Night, with his latest play, The Pope, premiering in England later this year.
Director Mayer’s credits include the current Burn This, Head Over Heels, American Idiot, and A View from the Bridge, among numerous others.
Davenport’s productions include the Tony-winning Once On This Island, The Play that Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day, Kinky Boots and The Visit, among others.
Gaudio, who wrote the music for most of the Four Seasons hits and initiated Jersey Boys as a project, produced numerous hits for other artists – including “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” for Diamond and Barbra Streisand. In all, he produced six albums for Diamond, including The Jazz Singer.