The Wanderer, a musical based on the life and music of rock & roll pioneer Dion, will stage its world premiere pre-Broadway run next Spring at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. Michael Wartella (Wicked) will take on the title role, with Christy Altomare (Broadway’s Anastasia) as wife Susan and former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre playing pal Johnny.
The musical, in development for years, will begin performances at the Paper Mill on March 24, 2022 and play through April 24, 2022. The engagement is described by producer Jill Menza as “the next step for our show on its way to Broadway…”
“If you told me as a young man that one day my journey from The Bronx to the Rock & 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!”
Further casting to be announced at a later date.
Written by Charles Messina (A Room of My Own) and directed by Kenneth Ferrone (Rent: Live), The Wanderer tells the story of the man Bruce Springsteen has called “the link between Frank Sinatra and Rock & Roll.” Incorporating elements of Doo-Wop, Rock, and R&B, the singer-songwriter Dion DiMucci scored more than 30 Top 40 hits both as lead singer for Dion and the Belmonts and as a solo act. His roster includes such era-defining songs as “Runaround Sue,” “Teenager in Love,” “I Wonder Why,” “Ruby Baby,” “Abraham, Martin and John” and, his signature tune, “The Wanderer.”
Most recently, Dion released the album Blues with Friends, with contributions from Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jeff Beck, and others, and he is currently recording another album.