Pre-Broadway ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Finds Its Fashion Boss From Hell; Chicago Production Postpones Engagement

Beth Leavel Nathan Johnson

Tony Award winner Beth Leavel has been cast in the pre-Broadway production of The Devil Wears Prada as tyrannical fashion editor Miranda Priestly, while Taylor Iman Jones (Broadway’s Head Over Heels) will take the role of her put-upon assistant Andy Sachs, producers announced today.

The casting announcement comes as the pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago was postponed a year, from a planned July 2020 start to July 2021. The musical will play a limited engagement at Broadway in Chicago’s CIBC Theatre (a move from the previously announced James M. Nederlander Theatre) from July 13-August 15, 2021.

The Broadway plans, including casting, have not been announced. Additional casting and creative team for Chicago will be announced later.

Producer Kevin McCollum said the rescheduling was due to timing, creative team schedules and a chance for additional planning. “We realized that we wanted more time to work on the show,” said McCollum. “Our creative team members are in demand around the world with ridiculous schedules. The new dates mean that not only do we get an ideal theatre in Chicago (the CIBC Theatre), it also allows our New York landlord to confirm the Broadway venue, which means we have more time to coordinate our physical design, marketing and sales plans accordingly.”

Taylor Iman Jones Courtesy Production

The musical is one of the most anticipated, higher profile Broadway-bound projects, with music by Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub, book by Paul Rudnick and direction by Tony-winner Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County).

James Alsop, best known for her music video work with Beyoncé, Lady GaGa, Kelly Rowland and Janelle Monae, among others, will choreograph. Nadia DiGiallonardo (Waitress) is on board for music supervision.

Leavel won the Tony for her 2006 performance in The Drowsy Chaperone, and last season was Tony-nominated for her showstopping performance in The Prom. (In an interesting twist, Leavel is taking on the Meryl Streep role from the Prada movie, while Streep will star in the Netflix movie version of The Prom  in the role Leavel originated).

“I am so thrilled that Beth Leavel,” said McCollum, “one of the American theater’s great leading artists, will be playing one of the most powerful and feared women in popular culture. Producing The Drowsy Chaperone and seeing Beth win the Tony Award for her performance was a career highlight for me and I know that she will create a brilliant Miranda.”

Producer David Furnish (Rocket Pictures) said, “Elton and I are very excited by the exceptional level of theatrical artistic talent signing up to help The Devil Wears Prada leap onto the stage from its successful literary and cinematic origins. Everyone is fiercely dedicated to creating an updated version of the much-loved tale. The show needs to reflect the cultural and societal changes that have redefined the fashion world since Lauren Weisberger wrote her novel over 16 years ago.”

Jones, in addition to Head Over Heels, appeared in Broadway’s Groundhog Day.

The Devil Wears Prada is based on Weisberger’s bestselling 2003 novel and the 2006 Fox 2000 Pictures film starring Streep and Anne Hathaway. The musical is produced by Kevin McCollum and Rocket Entertainment and presented by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical.

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