Sunday, September 27

Latest news on Finding Neverland West End transfer

Updated 3rd March 2017: according to Baz in today's Mail, the  musical Finding Neverland is to be overhauled before it can be moved into the West End.

The show has been through at least three iterations since it was launched five years ago in Leicester, where it received terrible reviews. It then ran on Broadway, and is now in Los Angeles as part of a US tour.

It was due to have opened in London this summer, but for a variety of reasons has been postponed. It is now  hoped it will be ready for 2018, or early 2019.

After Leicester, Gary Barlow and playwright James Graham were contracted to revamp the show,  and to a certain degree  have succeeded. But they are going to be asked to  come up with some new numbers, and to rewrite and sharpen the show’s book, paying particular attention to removing any Americanisms that would no appeal British audiences.

The elaborate staging by director Diane Paulus and  choreography by Mia Michaels are likely to be ditched. It is  not yet known whether the pair would remain with a London production, or be replaced.

One suggestion would be to bring in a British ‘show doctor’ to work alongside Ms Paulus. Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, who had the joint role of Barrie’s producer, Charles Frohman, and Captain Hook in the Broadway show said  ‘The plan had been to open in London this year, but they’re going to work on some changes and I’m hoping I’ll be in London with Finding Neverland next year.’

Harvey Weinstein, Neverland’s producer, could not be reached for comment.

Updated 16th December:  the opening of this show has now been postponed until Autumn 2017.

Take That front man Gary Barlow has announced that Finding Neverland - the Broadway hit musical for which he co-wrote the music and lyrics - will transfer to the West End next year.

He said:It has to come to London, they're ready for it. Specifics we can't say but it's coming to London next year, 2016.

Finding Neverland is currently playing on Broadway starring Glee's Matthew Morrison as J.M. Barrie.It is based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name and follows playwright  Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer – and the man – he yearns to be.

Barlow is also working on two more musicals, The Girls (Barlow and Tim Firth's take on the smash hit Calendar Girls which will receive its world premiere at the U.K.'s Grand Theatre Leeds in November)  and Around the World in Eighty Days - has also hinted at another Take That musical. A 2008 musical based on the band's songs, Never Forget, was widely considered a flop and never actually endorsed by the band.  Barlow said:Actually, that's my ultimate. I would love to do a Take That musical. I really would. It's for London though.

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