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RIALTO CHATTER: Mendes, Shaiman and Wittman to Team for 'WILLY WONKA' Stage Musical?

RIALTO CHATTER: Mendes, Shaiman and Wittman to Team for 'WILLY WONKA' Stage Musical?Various media outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly are reporting that Tony Award-winning composing team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will join with director Sam Mendes on a stage musical version of the children's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Sam Mendes' and Caro Newling's Neal Street Productions are set to produce the project. Mendes is considering it as a directing vehicle, but is far from making a decision on helming, said people familiar with the situation to The Hollywood Reporter.

David Greig will write the book. 

The project is being overseen by Gregg Maday's Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, which was also involved in the musical adaptation of "The Color Purple" and the Elton John vampire musical "Lestat."

Roald Dahl's tale about a poor boy who wins a tour of a fantastical chocolate factory from the eccentric Willy Wonka originally made the jump from page to screen in 1971 from Paramount as "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." The Warners version, titled "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was a huge hit directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. To read the full article click here.

Shaiman and Wittman whipped up a special tune for Neil Patrick Harris to sing at this year's Emmy Awards. The gifted duo also wrote a comic tune for Harris to warble when he hosted the 2009 Tony Awards. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS on September 20th.

Universal Pictures has made a deal to acquire an untitled Mattel toy property for a live-action musical film to be produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The duo will reunite with the "Hairspray" team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Shaiman and Wittman are in talks to write an original score for the musical. 

Shaiman and Wittman recently presented their musical adaptation of "Catch Me if You Can." Adapted from the screenplay by Jeff Nathanson and the book written by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding, the original musical boasts a book by four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally, who joined forces with the collaborative team behind the hit musical Hairspray, including five-time Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien, Tony Award-winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and Tony Award-winning composing team Marc Shaiman (music & lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics).

The show had a limited three-week engagement at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre from July 23 - August 16, 2009.

Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi

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