Breaking News: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Musical HAPPY TRAILS Coming to Broadway in 2016? Menken, Slater & McAnuff Join Creative Team

By: Jan. 22, 2015

Producer Larry G. Spangler and The Spangler Group announced today the creative team for Happy Trails, a new musical based on the life and career of American icons Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans. The musical will feature original music by Tony and multiAcademy Award-winner Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by Tony nominee Glenn Slater (Sister Act, Tangled, ABC-TV's Galavant, upcoming School of Rock), a book by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Jersey Boys, The Addams Family), and direction by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Big River, Tommy).

Roy Rogers was one of the most visible stars of his era, making a significant impact across all media: film, radio, TV, and recordings - even selling over 150 million comic books to multiple generations of avid fans. Between 1945 and 1975, he starred in 88 films, seen by an estimated 80 million people a year. His British fan club boasted over 90,000 members. The top rated "Roy Rogers TV Show" aired 100 episodes and his image was featured on over 2.5 billion boxes of Post Cereal.

His journey - from an impoverished childhood in Ohio to an unlikely reign as one of Hollywood's most popular stars; the poignant and inspiring story of the family he and Dale raised, their endurance, faith and humor in the face of almost impossible obstacles - and how Trigger got to be the only horse in Hollywood ever to be billed above the title - would be a highly improbable tale if it weren't all true.

Additional creative team members, production details, and casting for all roles including Trigger, Smartest Horse in the Movies and Bullet The Wonder Dog, will be announced in the coming months.

"I've been a huge fan of Roy Rogers since I was a kid, so working on this show is a dream come true," says composer Alan Menken. "Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were consummate, one-of-akind entertainers and I'm extremely excited to create a period-specific score that celebrates their legacy."

"I think audiences will be surprised at what trail blazers Roy and Dale were and how their story and ideals continue to resonate today," said lyricist Glenn Slater. "I'm very eager to collaborate with Alan, Marshall, and Des on this exciting new project and can't wait for Broadway audiences to see what we've come up with."

"I'm excited to be able to introduce Rogers to a new generation - and to re-introduce him to his older fans," said book writer Marshall Brickman. "At the height of his popularity, Roy had millions of fans worldwide and reigned for decades as the embodiment of simple, honest American values. It will be interesting to contrast that ideal with the current environment of ambivalence and moral uncertainty."

"The story of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans is deeply emotional with all kinds of surprising twists and turns," said director Des McAnuff. "It's an inspirational part of American history that is ideally suited to the times we live in as an elixir for all that ails us. It dusts off old fashioned kindness and human decency in a way that I believe audiences will find magnetically compelling. It is also a great vehicle for a Broadway production as it has the spectacle of a Hollywood western along with a brainy German Shepherd and the smartest horse in the world. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to stage this extraordinary musical and partner with this all-star team of creators."

"I couldn't be happier with the Broadway A-list creative team we've assembled to tell the unique story of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and I know these artists will honor the Roy Rogers legacy," said producer Larry Spangler. "Beyond their films, TV shows, and hit records, Roy and Dale's personal character are at the heart of Happy Trails - not only what they and their family went through, but the clear-eyed resolve and strength with which they met every challenge along the way."

ALAN MENKEN (Music) has written the scores for the stage musicals God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Patch Patch Patch, Real Life Funnies, Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Little Shop of Horrors, Kicks: The Showgirl Musical, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Carol, Weird Romance, King David, Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His film musicals include Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies, Life with Mikey, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home On the Range, Noel, The Shaggy Dog, Enchanted, Tangled and Mirror, Mirror. He has written songs for the films Rocky V, Home Alone 2 and Captain America. Television credits includes the ABCTV musical series, Galavant, an episode from The Neighbors, Lincoln (TV miniseries), Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue. He is the recipient of 8 Oscars® (with19 nominations), 11 Grammys® (including Song of the Year), 7 Golden Globes®, the Tony® (plus 3 nominations), the Olivier, the New York Drama Critics Award, induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as doctorates from New York University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His upcoming projects include stage musicals of A Bronx Tale, Mrs. Doubtfire and the film Sausage Party.

GLENN SLATER (Lyrics) co-created Disney's 2010 worldwide smash Tangled (2011 Grammy Winner, 2010 Oscar and Golden Globe nominee), as well as the Broadway and international hit musicals Sister Act (2011 Tony nominee - Best Score) and The Little Mermaid (2008 Tony nominee - Best Score, Grammy nominee - Best Cast Album). ). With longtime collaborator Alan Menken, he is Executive Producer and Lyricist for the ABC-TV musical comedy series Galavant, and has also written songs for the Disney animated film Home On The Range (2004) and the Broadway musical Leap of Faith (Tony nominee - Best Musical, 2012). In the West End, Glenn provided both book and lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies (2010 Olivier nominee - Best Musical), the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Other work includes an Emmynominated song for the ABC-TV comedy The Neighbors (2013), and the stage revue Newyorkers at Manhattan Theatre Club (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations). Glenn is the recipient of the prestigious Kleban Award for Lyrics, the ASCAP/Richard Rogers New Horizons Award, and the Jonathan Larson Award. He is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and a member of both ASCAP and the Dramatists' Guild. Upcoming projects include the stage musicals A Bronx Tale (with Menken), School of Rock (with Lloyd Webber), and Beatsville (with composer/lyricist/wife Wendy Leigh Wilf), as well as the animated film Sausage Party.

MARSHALL BRICKMAN (Book). Film (as coauthor): Sleeper, Annie Hall (Academy Award), Manhattan, Manhattan Murder Mystery; (as writer/director): Simon, Lovesick, The Manhattan Project, Sister Mary Explains It All. Television: The Johnny Carson Show, head writer; The Dick Cavett Show (head writer and producer). His first venture into musical theatre, Jersey Boys, won an Olivier and four Tony Awards including Best Musical, is in its tenth year on Broadway and has been seen by more than 20 million people worldwide. The Addams Family, starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, ran for over 700 performances on Broadway and continues to have a healthy life worldwide. His pilot script with Jim Henson, entitled Sex and Violence, eventually became The Muppet Show and was syndicated in over 80 countries. An accomplished folk musician, his album (with Eric Weissberg) of the soundtrack for the movie Deliverance has achieved platinum status. In addition to his film, theatre and television work, Mr. Brickman has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Playboy and other periodicals and is the 2006 recipient of the Writers Guild of America Ian McClellan Hunter Award for lifetime achievement in writing.

DES McANUFF (Director) is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and the immediate past Artistic Director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He is also Artistic Director Emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse, where during his tenure he directed more than 30 productions of classics, new plays and musicals. Broadway: Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Musical), Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Tony Award: Best Special Theatrical Event), Dracula the Musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who's Tommy (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Director), A Walk in the Woods, and Big River (Tony Awards: Best Director, Best Musical). Other New York: Fetch Clay, Make Man (New York Theatre Workshop); The Crazy Locomotive (Chelsea Theater Center); The Death of Von Richtofen As Witnessed From Earth, Henry IV Part 1, Mary Stuart and Leave It to Beaver Is Dead (Public Theatre). Stratford highlights: A Word or Two, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest (all with Christopher Plummer) Opera: Faust (Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera). Film: Cousin Bette (director), The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (director), Iron Giant (producer) and Quills (executive producer).

LARRY SPANGLER (Producer) has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences since 1973. He has forty years of experience in motion pictures, television, animation, music production and management. He feels blessed to have produced projects that have involved four major legends: Coco Chanel, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Roy Rogers, and legend Joe "Willie" Namath. His most significant films include: Chanel Solitaire starring Marie France Piser, Rutger Hauer, and Timothy Dalton; The Bear, a biopic of Alabama's legendary football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant; The Last Rebel starring Joe Namath; The Legend and Soul of __ Charley starring Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. His animation projects include Kipling's The Maltese Cat and Super Joe with Joe Namath. His documentaries include The Great Chucker - 70mm World of Polo featuring His Royal Highness Prince Charles; The Quick and the Dead - 70mm Formula 1 Racing featuring Jackie Stewart. His television experience includes the US sales and distribution of "The Merv Griffin Show" and "The Mike Douglas Show," "Regis Philbin," creating and producing "The Joe Namath Show," which he owned with Joe Namath and Namanco Productions and sold to ESPN. Mr. Spangler has built significant businesses and relationships in China and still maintains offices in Beijing. He has traveled extensively around the world overseeing productions in London, Paris, Rome, Montego Bay, and Toronto.

THE SPANGLER GROUP was formed by Larry G. Spangler and Walter Hoelzel to develop and bring to market entertainment projects including Broadway musical theater, feature films (movies) and television. The business model is comprised of numerous projects structured as manager managed LLC joint ventures and is designed to capitalize on a variety of revenue opportunities generated from the exploitation of the intellectual property owned and managed by each of the companies. The Roy Rogers IP is one example of this model that includes theatrical and motion picture box office, television proceeds, syndication, licensing, product sales and merchandizing.

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