BWW EXCLUSIVE: THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN Revival Gets New Life with New Reading; Sutton Foster & Marc Kudisch Star
As first reported back in the Spring of 2010, Sutton Foster and her ANYTHING GOES director Kathleen Marshall had teamed up on a reading presentation of THE UNSINKABLE Molly Brown, which could be gunning for a Broadway revival in the near future. In 2010, Foster starred alongside Craig Bierko in the role of James Joseph "J.J." Brown. Michael Riedel had reported in the New York Post at the time that Reba McEntire was being courted for the famous role of 'Molly'.
All has since been quiet on the Molly Brown front - until today - when BroadwayWorld learned that Foster and Marshall got back into the studio last week, this time with Marc Kudisch, for another developmental reading, and we hear that it exceeded expectations. Michael Rafter musical directed and provided vocal arrangements.
This spirited tale of a real-life American legend follows the exploits of Molly Brown, whose feisty determination to rise above her impoverished beginnings leads her from the backwoods of Hannibal, Missouri, to the palaces of Europe. Along the way, she marries, enters the highest echelons of Monte Carlo society, survives the sinking of the Titanic and, most importantly, earns the approval she so desperately seeks of those 'beautiful people of Denver'.
The UNSINKABLE Molly Brown features music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, an original book by Richard Morris, and a newly reworked book by Dick Scanlan (Everyday Rapture, Thoroughly Modern Millie). Reportedly, Scanlan's new take on the material now focuses only on the two leads - Molly and her love James Joseph "J.J." Brown, and utilized only portions of the orginal score.
The original Broadway production, directed by Dore Schary and choreographed by Peter Gennaro, opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on November 3, 1960 and closed on February 10, 1962 after 532 performances and 1 preview. The original show starred Tammy Grimes, Harve Presnell, and Jack Harrold. Grimes won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. The musical was adapted for the screen in 1964, also starring Presnell alongside Debbie Reynolds. The two starred in a 1989-1990 national tour or the show. The first West End production, starring Abi Finley and Sean Pol McGreevy, opened in May 2009.
Stay tuned for updates on this exciting revival candidate!