TRW & BMG Join Forces for Musicals Featuring Songs By Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line & More

Article Pixel

TRW & BMG Join Forces for Musicals Featuring Songs By Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line & More

Lively McCabe Entertainment Co-President Michael Barra just announced a slate of three new stage musicals in partnership with licensing agency Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) and music powerhouse BMG. These initial three projects, all which will have premiere productions in 2020 (TBA), will feature select music from the BMG catalog, as part of their previously announced partnership with Lively McCabe.

Projects include:

May We All, a Country Music musical with a book by Troy Britton Johnson and Todd Johnson, including music from artists such as Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and featuring the title song by Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGRaw. May We All is a story of disappearing small-town America as seen through the hopeful eyes of its youth. Jenna Coates, a fledgling country singer, reluctantly comes home after a rough start in Nashville, ultimately to discover that her roots may take her a lot further than her dreams.

What A Wonderful World. Set in mid-20th century New York City, this feel-good musical comedy by Jeremy Desmon is the never-before-told story of how our modern-day Santa Claus came to be... and about Mrs. Claus, the surprising woman behind it all. What A Wonderful World features a score of contemporary pop hits arranged in an old-school "Nouveau Vintage"-style by arranger and orchestrator Jesse Vargas.

Untitled New Wave Project. This new musical, set in the 1980s, is conceived and written by Michael Kimmel (Songbird, The Last Goodbye), with arrangements and orchestrations by Kris Kukul (Beetlejuice, The Last Goodbye). In a tiny Suburban NY radio station off the beaten path, two young DJs play a new record for the first time and set off a revolution that will change music forever. Featuring a score of some of the decade's greatest hits, the musical tells the story of this "New Wave" and the cultural tsunami that followed. BMG represents publishing for artists including Tears For Fears, Billy Idol, Simple Minds, Devo, Culture Club and many more.

The remainder of their creative teams and premiere production plans will be announced shortly.

Troy Britton Johnson (Co-Book Writer, May We All). Current writing projects include a musical adaptation of the award winning novel Drag Teen, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell; Belles, based on the documentary "Southern Belle" in development with the Alliance Theater; Howard, a new musical based on the life of Howard Hughes; and C'mon Get Happy, incorporating the catalogue of music from "The Partridge Family" TV series. He is the writer of The Voice: Neon Dreams, featuring stars of NBC's "The Voice" slated for residency in Las Vegas, as well as Broadway Bares, the annual fundraiser that has raised over 19 million dollars for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Troy is also developing projects for the stage with Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group. Formerly an actor, he created the role of Robert Martin on Broadway in the Tony winning The Drowsy Chaperone, and other Broadway credits include Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees, Elvis in The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and the original company of The Will Rogers Follies. He originated the role of Corny Collins in the first national tour and Los Angeles companies of Hairspray, and played Teddy Slaughter in the national tour of The Full Monty. Off-Broadway, he played Craig Prince in Charles Busch's infamous Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill and holds his degree in theater from New York University.

Todd Johnson (Co-Book Writer, May We All). Todd's bestselling first novel, The Sweet By and By, received the Connecticut Book Award for Fiction. It was adapted for the stage by the Touring Theatre of North Carolina with support from the NC Arts Council and is performed in repertory. He recently co-wrote the film adaptation of the novel with Oscar-winning screenwriter, Ron Bass. Johnson began his professional life as a sought-after studio vocalist in New York City, where he has performed and/or recorded with myriad artists, including Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, and Sarah Brightman. He received a Tony Award nomination as an original producer of The Color Purple on Broadway. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and Yale.

Jeremy Desmon (Book, What A Wonderful World) is an award-winning musical theatre book writer and lyricist. The Girl in the Frame, produced all over the world, earned him the prestigious Kleban Prize for musical theatre book writing. Jeremy's beloved "revisal" of the classic musical comedy Good News opened Goodspeed Musicals' 50th Anniversary Season to rave reviews. Pump Up the Volume, his rock musical adaptation of the 1990 film starring Christian Slater, is being developed with Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. In addition, NYC's Araca Group is producing Jeremy's jukebox musical One Hit Wonder, which had its world premiere in October, 2017 and is in development for ABC television. The Oliver Experiment, a ground-breaking new musical written with composer Jeff Thomson is available soon for licensing from Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW). Other credits include Cyrano De Burger Shack (100+ high school productions in first years), Surviving the Avalanche (Barrington Stage), Virtually Me (TheatreworksUSA tour), and I See London, I See France (NYMF). In the world of non-musical comedy, Jeremy is the author of the high-concept romp, 7½ Wondrous Act(s) of True Love (Midtown Direct Rep) and Mudd, a genre-busting, historical-ish comedy about the Lincoln assassination. Additionally, Jeremy writes family theatrical touring arena shows for some of the world's most recognizable characters, including monkeys (Universal's Curious George), mice (Disney Live's Mickey's Musical Festival!), monsters (Sesame Workshop's Elmo Rocks!) and elephants (multiple editions of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus). He is also proud to have written a show that requires a Zamboni, namely Disney On Ice's Rockin' Ever After. Jeremy is an alum of Stanford University (BA) and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). He teaches a musical theatre writing workshop at Princeton University and was a Jonathan Larson Fellow with the Dramatists Guild for his work as a lyricist.

Jesse Vargas (Arranger & Orchestrator, What a Wonderful World) has worked internationally as a music director, arranger, and pianist. Credits - recent: Love Actually Live (musical supervision and arrangements) at the Wallis Annenberg Center of Performing Arts in LA; Broadway: Glory Days (Music SPV, Arrangements & Orchestrations), The Ritz (Orchestrations); Off-Broadway: Shida: A New Musical (MD, Additional Arrangements), Rooms: a rock romance (Music SPV, Arrangements & Orchestrations), Saved (MD, Musical Arrangements), Junie B. Jones (Orchestrations), and Bare - A Pop Opera (MD). Jesse served as music director to Clay Aiken, conducting and arranging for many of his tours and appearing on the albums Tried & True (2010) and Steadfast (2012). Jesse was also the keyboardist/arranger/music supervisor of the funk/soul band Nick Blaemire and The Hustle, whose debut EP can be found on iTunes. He is currently the resident music director & arranger for The Midtown Men, starring the original 'Four Seasons' from Jersey Boys.

Michael Kimmel (Book, Untitled New Wave Project) is the creator and writer of Songbird, based on Chekhov's The Seagull and set in Nashville, TN, with music and lyrics by Lauren Pritchard (LOLO). Songbird had its Off-Broadway debut at 59E59 in October 2015 (NYT Critics Pick), was a finalist for the 2016 Kleban Award, and recently completed a critically acclaimed run at Two River Theater, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Songbird is expected to return to NYC in 2019. He is also the creator and adaptor of The Last Goodbye, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with music and lyrics by famed singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley. The Last Goodbye performed a series of sold out concerts at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater before its world premiere at The Williamstown Theater Festival where it broke box office records for WTF's Nikos Stage, and also had an acclaimed production at The Old Globe Theater, San Diego, CA (Nominated for two Craig Noel awards), helmed by two-time Tony nominee Alex Timbers. A commercial production of TLG is planned for 2019. Other musicals conceived and written by Kimmel include I Don't Know What to Say to You, a grunge pop musical inspired by Ferdinand Bruckner's Pains of Youth with music and lyrics by Libby Winters, which debuted at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater in Sept. 2017, and will be given a workshop production at La Guardia Performing Arts Center as a part of the Rough Draft Festival in Spring 2019; Everything Is Going to Be Okay, Wildwood, a new musical about the legendary Jersey Shore town, with music and lyrics by Elliah Heifetz, which debuted at 54 Below in Nov. 2018; and The Space To Be Lived In, a theater piece exploring Frank Lloyd Wright commemorating the 150th anniversary of his birth. Michael's work has been featured at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, LPR, The Westside Theater, and many other venues in NYC and across the country.

Kris Kukul (Arranger & Orchestrator, Untitled New Wave Project) is currently the Music Director and Orchestrator for the Warner Brothers musical, Beetlejuice. Other current projects include Songbird, by Michael Kimmel and Lauren Pritchard, Afterwards by current Larson Award winner Zoe Sarnak and a remounting of Elizabeth Swados' Runaways. Recently, he provided Orchestrations and Arrangements for David Byrne's Joan of Arc at The Public Theatre, The Aenied with music by Duncan Sheik, The Last Goodbye, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet featuring the music of Jeff Buckley, and The Heart of Robin Hood, music by Parsonsfield. He also recently arranged, orchestrated and conducted Lincoln Center's American Songbook: The Music of Elizabeth Swados.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) opened its doors in October 2006, proudly representing musicals from Broadway, Off-Broadway and the West End, as well as shows originating in regional theatres and elsewhere. Its mission is to cultivate and introduce new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces. The TRW family of musicals includes Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, Spamalot, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, Ghost, The Addams Family, On Your Feet!, The Color Purple and many others. TRW licenses productions to a broad range of customers, including schools or community, civic, amateur and religious organizations; summer stock and dinner theatres; regional and residential theatres youth theatres, cruise ships, casinos, hotels, and producers of touring and Off-Broadway or off-West productions. Having created and introduced junior and youth editions, alongside small and large cast versions, all using innovative rehearsal and performance products and resources, TRW is committed to fostering the artistic and commercial value of musical theatre presentation. TRW was founded by President/CEO Steve Spiegel. Visit

BMG is the world's fourth biggest music company and the first new global player in the recordings business in decades. BMG's 15 offices across 12 core music markets now represent over 2.5m songs and recordings, including the catalogues of Chrysalis, Bug, Virgin, Mute, Sanctuary, Primary Wave and Talpa Music, as well as literally thousands of artists and songwriters including Aerosmith, Blondie, Richard Marx, Public Enemy, Tears for Fears, Avril Lavigne, and Alice in Chains, among many others. BMG is the new model music company founded by international media, services and education company Bertelsmann in 2008. Bringing together the traditionally separate businesses of music publishing and recordings under one roof, BMG is increasingly building a multimedia presence in music related films (Joan Jett's Bad Reputation, Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records), television projects (PBS Soundstage, Live From Daryl's House), and books (Johnny Cash at Folsom & San Quentin, Wanda Jackson: Every Night is Saturday Night, For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records).

Lively McCabe Entertainment is led by producer Michael Barra and co-founder Katie Dietz. The company specializes in packaging and adapting iconic intellectual property into new stories for theater, film/TV, and book publishing. Other projects in development include the new stage musical Punk Rock Girl, with a book by Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) and featuring hit songs from artists such as Blondie, Avril Lavigne, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett and Gwen Stefani, and the musical adaptation of Mystic Pizza, with a score by Melissa Etheridge and book by Gordon Greenberg and Sas Goldberg. Lively McCabe Entertainment is represented by Max Grossman and Brad Rosenfeld at Abrams Artists Agency and Adam Cooper at Jackoway Austen Tyerman (TV/film), Jason Aylesworth at Sendroff & Baruch (theater) and Conrad Rippy at Levine Plotkin & Menin (corporate and publishing). Visit

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You

Confirmed: Billy Porter Will Play the Fairy Godmother in Upcoming CINDERELLA Film
BroadwayWorld recently reported on a rumor that Billy Porter would be joining the cast of the upcoming Cinderella film from Sony, starring Camila Cabe... (read more)

DVR Alert: Lin-Manuel Miranda Will Appear on Tonight's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
This just in! Lin-Manuel Miranda will appear on tonight's episode of Saturday Night Live!... (read more)

Alice Walker Pens Moving Essay on THE COLOR PURPLE, Celie as a Character and Oluwaseyi Omooba
On Facebook this week, producer Scott Sanders shared the below letter from the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of The Color Purple, Alice Walker...... (read more)

Photo Flash: Tom Hiddleston & Company Celebrate Harold Pinter's Birthday at BETRAYAL
Stars of Betrayal raised their glasses to the late Harold Pinter last night, October 10, in celebration of what would have been the playwright's 89th ... (read more)

Casting Announced For THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG National Tour
After a successful first year playing in over 25 North American cities and recouping its investment in just 15 weeks, the producers of The Play That G... (read more)

Ben Platt Reveals Further Details About Upcoming MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG Film
Further details have been revealed for the upcoming Merrily We Roll Along film, starring Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein.... (read more)