Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...

trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 10:24am
Frank Wildhorn's next musical is going to be an adaptation of Death Note, one of the most popular manga and anime series of all time. A high school senior named Light finds a notebook called a Death Note that lets him kill anyone just by knowing their name and face. The notebook comes with a Shinigami, an angel of death, who toys with him throughout the story. Light decides to become the God of a new world, killing every criminal he can to cleanse the earth and deter future crimes. Meanwhile, the greatest detective in the world, a teenager going by the name L, quickly realizes that Kira (Light's alias) is based in Light's hometown.

The story of Death Note is one of my favorites. I'm just really worried about a musical adaptation. There's so much plot and the entire story hinges on internal monologues. There are characters that only appear for a few chapters in a multi-volume work that greatly impact the direction of the story but might not fit well in a musical. Forget it being a Frank Wildhorn project. The very nature of Death Note makes it more likely to be another Lestat where the story is never clear because too much is happening at once than a Les Mis where everything lines up just so.

Frank Wildhorn is doing the score. Jack Murphy is doing the lyrics. The show will debut in South Korea in 2015 with no word yet on other productions.
Death Note Is Being Turned Into a Musical
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 10:56am
So did he run out of things in the public domain?

Updated On: 12/16/13 at 10:56 AM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 11:00am
This is a bizarre and audacious choice, but in Asia, the anime musical is a huge industry, and most long-running or respected shows have at least one stage musical. Bringing in Frank Wildhorn, whose work plays better outside of the American critical circle, makes sense since the megamusical is extremely popular in Japan. Launching this show in South Korea will probably propel it to a Tokyo stage faster than an American one.

My other question is, will Wildhorn be using the standard modern Japanese musical theatre trope of employing an all-female cast in breeches roles?
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Star
joined:6/13/12
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 11:45am
Standard is a bit of a misnomer. Only one all-female company in Japan (Takarazuka) employs that as a stock trick of the trade.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 12:08pm
But they are THE major musical theatre company in Japan.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 12:15pm
...Will be trashed by the critics as usual.
Mary had a little lamb : The PC signature line.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 12:44pm
And it'll make Wildhorn tons of money as usual too. Hence why he doesn't quit, not should he.
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Star
joined:6/13/12
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 01:27pm
But they are THE major musical theatre company in Japan.

The Shiki Theatre Company and the theater division of the legendary Toho Studios would beg to differ.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 02:27pm
The show wont necessarily be trashed by US critics. Wildhorn has penned several shows strictly for European/Asian audiences, including Tears of Heaven for Korea and Never Say Goodbye for Takarazuka in Japan. And I really like his scores for Rudolf and Carmen.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
philly03
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/07
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 08:21pm
The musical has a good chance of being a hit in Korea - Jekyll & Hyde is one of the longest running musicals in Seoul (still open - 8 years or more). (I believe Bonnie & Clyde is still running over there too) Although WONDERLAND did not meet expectations in Tokyo.

He works with good business people over there - and they love attaching "From Broadway"/etc on to it. "A Tale of Two Cities" producers in Seoul flew Brandi Burkhardt and James Barbour this past year for press related reasons and one (or two) concerts.

I know nothing about the source material, but I'm sure the music will be wonderful.

Also I don't think Carmen is specifically European... Something like Rudolf, for example, certainly. Carmen is just a vehicle for a big star - and I know Frank has said it doesn't necessarily need to be musical theatre. Could be some type of filmed event/etc. with the right star in it (Shakira or Christina Augiellera, etc).

I'm amazed that Cyrano de Bergerac and Count of Monte Cristo haven't been produced in English yet, but it should be noted that something like Monte Cristo is pretty lavish (choirs, 50 piece orchestra, etc). It would never be done like that here (sadly, given his track record).
Liza's Headband
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/13
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 08:23pm
Do you run the Frank Wildhorn fan club?
"I'm fine, and my hips are fine. My false knee is fine. My false hips are fine. Everything's cooking." -Liza
Mr. Nowak
Featured Actor
joined:5/20/13
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:02pm
As trentsketch said, the story is a very large one. I'm not sure how they'll faithfully depict the entire story in one 2 1/2 hour musical.

It will likely be hugely successful overseas, and I'm very eager to hear the score. It's certainly an interesting choice, especially considering his wild popularity outside of America.
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:15pm
I have to imagine that they're going to focus on the first half of the story (before the big time jump), which works as a self-contained narrative. I could see the act break happening right before the jail cell stuff. That let's them front load the show with more character development so that they second act could just be a domino effect of plot twists and murder.

I have no doubt it's going to be successful overseas. Death Note has had everything from print novels to video games do very well that will never get a localized release in America. Anime fans know about the show in America, but the teenager murderer protagonist makes it a hard sell to a wider audience. The right theater company could market a DVD of the show to a niche US audience and make a good bit of money on it, like the Phoenix Wright musicals, without having to try and adjust the material to better suit American sensibilities.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:20pm
I think it would be foolish to NOT focus on the first storyline of the series. One other thing working in the show's favor is that the anime series has a characteristically slow pace, in which tension and internal monologue make up most of the actual time spent. This could be sped up or used for dramatic effect onstage.
philly03
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/07
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:20pm
I'm assuming its a modern day setting or future?


Wildhorn also has Artus - Excalibur coming up in St. Gallen (which is where DRACULA and The Count of Monte Cristo got their starts) in March 2014 - a concept album is expected for this (also with Ivan Menchell); and A Christmas Carol (also with Murphy) set to premiere in December of 2014 in North Carolina.
Mr. Nowak
Featured Actor
joined:5/20/13
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:26pm
The first half of the anime was set in the then-present-day of 2007, with the aforementioned time jump leaping to roughly our current present day, 2012.
Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/06
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/16/13 at 09:57pm
I get the sense that ANY Wildhorn musical will be met with a great degree of skepticism. There seem to be many out there who just relish the thought of skewering another work of his. Although this new concept is interesting, I am doubtful that it can develop a broad appeal, so it can be financially sustainable.
Parsley
Featured Actor
joined:1/7/06
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 05:20am
Please Frank Wildhorn, must we continue this charade?
ErinDillyFan
Broadway Star
joined:7/14/06
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 09:54am
Who says it has to fit in 2 1/2 hrs. There have been shows like "Lord of the Rings" and "Gone with the Wind" approach 4 hrs. Not that they had much success, but producers will do it if the story dictates.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 07:03pm
Would rather hear his many projects generating for years

Count
Havana
Cyrano
Frankenstein

Would love recordings of these and his first Svengali
Mary had a little lamb : The PC signature line.
theatregeek6
Featured Actor
joined:6/19/13
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 07:08pm
Agree about Havana. Live Wildhorn's music. With he could find slid collaboration (possible) and acceptance by the critics (unlikely)
mjohnson2
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 07:42pm
I like the idea of Death Note being turned into a musical, but I really think anything Frank Wildhorn touches is awful. I have yet to like a single one of his shows (at least those that I've seen: Wonderland, Civil War, Jekyll and Hyde, Bonnie and Clyde, Scarlet Pimpernel) so I have low expectations for this.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 08:08pm
Death Note was a mostly great manga (I was more mixed on the anime) and it's an... interesting choice.

It's true that anime/manga based musicals have had success in Japan--at least going as far back as the 80s with Takarazuka's several musicals based on Rose of Versailles--with a new version just out again a few years back. But how long will this have to run to be a success? Because I've never heard of one running for years--most of them are not too expensive limited engagements (ie the dozen or so Sailor Moons) and aimed a chilren. Rose of Versailles has run for years but as stated in different versions and in repertory not constantly.

Ad yeah, it's a pretty big exaggeration to say most Japanese musicals are done all female (though there is a very popular non musical adaptation of the boys love classic manga, The Heart of Thomas which has been performed by the all male theatre company Studio Life--oddly the same manga was adapted to a film with all the me played by women.)

I do kinda agree that this could turn out into a Lestat situation.
philly03
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/07
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 08:56pm
Ironically, Wildhorn's DRACULA made its Japanese premiere with a female in the titular role! (It is on DVD as well)
Mattbrain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/23/05
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 09:25pm
Regardless of who's writing it, there are some properties you can't boil down to 2 hours. This is definitely one of them.
Butters, go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you. --Cartman: South Park ATTENTION FANS: I will be played by James Barbour in the upcoming musical, "BroadwayWorld: The Musical."
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Frank Wildhorn's Next Musical...
Posted: 12/17/13 at 11:01pm
EricMontreal, Japan isn't shy about turning stage musicals into commercial DVDs. It's Death Note. They will find a way to sell it to the millions of fans around the world, same as the many novel, film, and video game adaptations before it. Death Note is a money printing machine.

If it's starting in South Korea, they want to take their time with it. I can't see a real US run happening unless it was one of those limited engagement tours like Pokemon live. What I can see happening is one of those movie theater one night only engagements in large markets. That's how they released both of the films in America and they got a pretty decent turn out considering the much higher ticket prices.

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