New Musical HOUDINI, by Danny Elfman and David Yazbek Due 2010 on Broadway
Harry Houdini (1874-1926), one of the world's most famous and stupefying escape artists, was known to constantly up the ante. Throughout his career, the magician seemed capable of outwitting any restraint or obstacle - from handcuffs to jail cells to underwater traps and underground caves to thick walls. The only exception was his inability to satisfy his driving, obsessive quest to challenge the limitations of being human. HOUDINI, An Original Musical ultimately deals with the human yearning for astonishment and miracles-both manmade and supernatural-and the quest to defy death.
"When David Rockwell asked me to join him as a co-lead producer, I didn't hesitate for a moment. Houdini is an amazing, iconic figure who continues to captivate our imagination more than 80 years after his death. His colorful world defines the theatrical and, combined with this remarkable creative team, will make for a fascinating and entertaining musical," says Scott Sanders.
"The musical theater has always been a passion of mine, and I can't imagine a more thrilling opportunity than the creation of a new musical, especially with this team" adds David Rockwell.
Broadway theatre, casting and full design team will be announced at a later date.
Danny Elfman (Music) is one of today's most successful creators of movie music and is has managed to make the transition from rock musician with his band Oingo Boingo ("Dead Man's Party") to three-time Oscar-nominated orchestral score composer. The Grammy-winning composer has been working in motion pictures since 1985, when director Tim Burton and star Paul Reubens called him to write the music for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Since then, Elfman has scored nearly all of Burton's movies including Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, The Corpse Bride, and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory . Elfman has earned Oscar nominations for his inventive scores to Good Will Hunting , Men in Black and Big Fish.. He has also composed the scores for such diverse films as Midnight Run, Spider-Man 1 & 2, Dick Tracy, Sommersby, Mission: Impossible, Black Beauty, Dolores Claiborne, Chicago, Dead Presidents, A Simple Plan, The Family Man, Proof of Life, To Die For, Charlotte's Web and Meet The Robinsons. Upcoming scores include Wanted staring Angelina Jolie for acclaimed Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, Errol Morris' documentary Standard Operating Procedure, Hellboy II directed by Pan's Labyrinth's Guillermo Del Toro and Milk, a biographical film about Harvey Milk directed by Gus Van Sant starring Sean Penn. Elfman is also well-known for his classic television themes to "The Simpsons," "Tales from the Crypt," and "Desperate Housewives." Elfman's first full-length orchestral commission, Serenada Schizophrana, premiered at Carnegie Hall and was recorded for Sony Classics. Elfman will be making his ballet debut this summer with the American Ballet Theatre's at the Metropolitan Opera House with the World Premiere of a new work choreographed by Twyla Tharp.
David Yazbek (Lyrics) A varied career as a recording artist, Emmy-winning TV and film writer, music producer, and pianist has somehow led Yazbek to become one of Broadway's preeminent composer/lyricists. His two shows, The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels received a combined 21 Tony Award nominations with Yazbek being twice nominated for Best Score. The Full Monty won him the Drama Desk award for Best Music. As a recording artist, Yazbek is responsible for 5 albums-The Laughing Man (winner N.A.I.R.D. award Best Pop Album of the Year), Tock, Damascus, Tape Recorder and the brand-new Evil Monkey Man. He has written and/or produced for such acts as XTC, Ruben Blades, The Persuasions, Joe Jackson, Tito Puente and many others. He also produced the original cast albums of his two Broadway shows, The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, both nominated for Grammy awards. In past lives, he has written dozens of scripts for TV and film, co-created the PBS children's series "The Puzzle Place," won an Emmy for his comedy-writing stint on "Late Night with David Letterman" and wrote the unrelenting theme song for "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"
Kurt Andersen (Book) is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Heyday and Turn of the Century. Heyday was a New York Times bestseller that appeared on many short lists (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, New York Public Library, The Onion) of the best novels of 2007, and recently won the Langum Prize, given each year to the best work of American historical fiction. The New York Times called Turn of the Century "wickedly satirical" and "outrageously funny" and one of the Notable Books of the year; it was a national bestseller. He has also written for film, television and the stage. He adapted Turn of the Century as a screenplay for Warner Bros and the director Curtis Hanson. He is co-author of Loose Lips, a satirical off-Broadway revue that ran in New York and Los Angeles and starred Bebe Neuwirth, Peter Boyle, and Andy Richter. And he has written the book for Broomhilda, a musical comedy, for director and lyricist Martin Charnin. He writes a monthly column for New York Magazine and contributes to Vanity Fair. He has previously been a columnist for The New Yorker and design and architecture for Time. He is also host and co-creator of "Studio 360", the Peabody Award-winning cultural magazine show on public radio. As an editor, he co-founded Spy, and served as editor-in-chief of New York Magazine. He is also a co-founder of Very Short List, an online cultural service, and an editor-at-large for Random House. In 2003, New York Magazine named him one of the 100 People Who Changed New York.
Jack O'Brien (Director) Broadway: The Coast of Utopia (Tony Awards® 2007, Best Director and Play); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nominations 2005, Best Director and Musical); Henry IV (Tony Awards® 2004, Best Director and Play Revival); Hairspray (Tony Awards® 2003 and Drama Desk Awards, Best Director and Musical); Imaginary Friends; The Invention of Love (Tony nominations, Best Director and Play; Drama Desk Award, Best Director); The Full Monty (Tony nominations, Best Director and Musical); More to Love; Getting Away With Murder; Pride's Crossing; The Little Foxes; Hapgood (Lucille Lortel Award, Best Director); Damn Yankees (Tony nomination, Best Musical Revival); Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nominations, Best Director and Play); Porgy and Bess (Tony Award®, Most Innovative Revival; Best Director nomination); St. Louis Woman; The Most Happy Fella. For the Metropolitan Opera, Il Trittico, 2007. London: Hairspray (Olivier Award Nominations, Best Director and Musical). Artistic Director of The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, from 1981-2007. Productions include Twelfth Night, The Full Monty, The Seagull, The Magic Fire, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Henry IV, Much Ado About Nothing, Oleanna, Damn Yankees, King Lear, Ghosts, Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, Breaking Legs, Emily. TV: six movies for PBS's "American Playhouse." Recent awards: 2008 Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee, National Theatre Conference 2007 Person of the Year, 2005 John Houseman Award, 2007 and 2001 Joan Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity, 2004 Thomas Degaetani Award (USITT), 2002 "Mr. Abbott" Award (SDCF), 2001 Joe A. Callaway Award (SDCF), the Drama League's 2001 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing. Member, College of Fellows of the American Theatre; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of San Diego.
Scott Sanders (Producer) is one of the entertainment industry's most creative and prolific entrepreneurs, with a proven track record of producing quality entertainment properties for a variety of media. In addition to his credit as lead producer of the 11 Tony Award-nominated hit Broadway musical The Color Purple, he is widely credited with the historic turnaround of Radio City Music Hall. Additional credits include Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, which won the 2002 Tony Award, and the HBO special of "Elaine Stritch: At Liberty," which won two Emmy Awards, including one for Sanders for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy SpeciaL. Sanders partnered with Queen Latifah in a groundbreaking music partnership to record and produce her first vocal album, The Dana Owens Album, which is approaching platinum sales status and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He also produced the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance and pop star Josh Groban's Broadway debut in a concert version of Chess at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Sanders also launched film and television powerhouse Mandalay Entertainment with partner and chairman Peter Guber and served as president of Mandalay Television, executive producing six network series - in association with Columbia TriStar - including ABC's "Cupid" with Jeremy Piven and the WB's "Young Americans" with Kate Bosworth. He is the CEO of Scott Sanders Productions, a New York-based feature film and live-theatre Production Company, which has a first look motion picture deal with Walt Disney Studios. scottsandersproductions.com
David Rockwell (Producer/Scenic Design) designed the sets for Hairspray (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Laurence Olivier nominations), Legally Blonde The Musical (Drama Desk nomination), The Rocky Horror Show (Drama Desk Nomination), All Shook Up (Drama Desk Nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Armed and Naked in America, Omnium Gatherum, Let Me Down Easy, and, for film, Team America. He is the founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, a New York-based architecture and design firm. Projects include Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis, JetBlue's Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Imagination Playground, the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, Aloft Hotels, W New York, W Union Square, Nobu, Nobu Fifty Seven and Café Gray. Rockwell is included in Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame and received the Presidential Design Award. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and serves on the board of Citymeals-on-Wheels. Spectacle, a book by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, was published by Phaidon in 2006.