Who could forget the 8th Wonder Of The World?! I bet Broadway did. It’s been several months since we last brought you an update on the status of the King Kong musical which premiered just about two years ago in Australia. The reason being there hasn’t been any official updates from the production yet. However, word has managed to leak out of a new member joining the creative team as the production takes one step closer to its U.S. premiere and hopeful Broadway bow. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Eric Schaeffer will helm the U.S. premiere of the King Kong musical spectacular!
Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award winner Marsha Norman broke the news that Eric Schaeffer is now attached to direct the U.S. premiere of the musical spectacular, King Kong. Norman recently became attached to the production herself signing on to write a new book for the production before it heads to Broadway. Norman has penned books for other stage productions such as The Secret Garden, The Bridges of Madison County and ‘Night Mother. While U.S. representatives for the production confirmed Norman joining the team, there has been no official announcement regarding Schaeffer.
Eric Schaeffer is a director who is also the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. He has directed productions for Broadway, regional theaters and at Signature itself for years. On Broadway, Schaeffer has directed Follies, Million Dollar Quartet, Glory Days and Putting It Together. He brought his direction for Million Dollar Quartet not only to the National Tour but also London’s West End. Some of his credits at Signature include Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Grand Hotel, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Hello, Dolly!, Into The Woods and dozens more! He is currently the director of Gigi, currently in previews on Broadway, and helmed the production during it’s pre-Broadway tryout at The Kennedy Center earlier this year. During his time, he has brought 90 Helen Hayes Awards to Signature as well as 340 nominations. In 2009, Signature Theatre was awarded the Special Tony Award for outstanding Regional Theatre in America.
As previously reported by Luner on Theatre, King Kong is working a major revamp of the production before heading to Broadway. While producers and creatives furiously circled Broadway in 2014 hoping for the production to bow during the season, they later decided to hold off and rework major portions of the production before a New York bow could happen. During their visit, they also learned that there are only four to five Broadway houses that are capable of holding the size production’s needs. The two main theatres that interested producers, the Broadway Theatre & Lyric Theatre, are currently both filled with new shows this season. The Lyric is currently home to the revival of On The Town and the Broadway is home to the U.S. debut of Dr. Zhivago which began previews just last night. While Zhivago has just started, On The Town has been running since this fall and is counting on recognition this awards season to stay afloat. We believe that producers are mainly interested in The Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street. However, they were deeply interested in having a production bow at the space before they did following Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. Read out previous blog post on King Kong revamp details!
I think in every blog post I have ever penned about King Kong on stage from the very first when this monster appeared in Australia, I have described how excited I am for this production. Nothing has changed. King Kong looks spectacular and sounds fantastic! If you look into this show, you will be truly won over by what they have already accomplished with just one several month-long run of this show. Did we mention that was its world premiere as well? If you check out our Australian Theatre Page, you will find most news relating to this production. However, we want to remind everyone like we did in our last Kong blog post that musicals and stage spectaculars of this shape and size take time. A lot of time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. As you can see, the producers of this show are taking their time to find the correct pieces to put down on their chess board. They want a winning match! And who could blame them? Not me. I’m highly looking forward to the U.S. premiere and hopefully Broadway run of King Kong on stage. No matter how long it takes.
Luner on Theatre will continue to keep you updated on the progress of King Kong on stage as it makes its way to the United States and hopefully Broadway! All the pieces must be in place for this monster production not only to bow here on Broadway but also win over audiences and critics in its U.S. premiere! For more information, visit King Kong’s Official Website. And of course, be sure to check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know!