We’re all familiar with movie musicals being based on Broadway hit shows but in more recent years, a lot more Broadway shows are being based on movies. Disney has done it for years with Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Aladdin, etc. Some do very well including Hairspray, Matilda and Billy Elliott. Others like Carrie and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, not so much.
In Seattle, two new ambitious shows, based off some unlikely material, are currently in the works. Will they be a hit or a miss? We’ll just have to wait and see.
The world-premiere of the musical Bruce will be playing at the Seattle Rep from May 27-June 26, 2022. The title comes from the name of the shark in Jaws of all things. Based on Carl Gottlieb’s novel, The Jaws Log, Bruce won’t re-create the thriller on stage. Instead, it is story about the making of Jaws.
Taking place in 1974, Jarrod Spector, a Tony-nominated leading man will be playing the role of a 26-year-old Steven Spielberg. He’s “invading a sleepy fishing island off Cape Cod to shoot on the open ocean, he battled weather, water, hostile locals, an exploding budget, endless delays, and a highly dysfunctional mechanical star named Bruce,” says Seattle Rep.
“There’s no better way to finish our first season back from the pandemic than with this bright and joyful new musical about a determined group of filmmakers fighting and stumbling through all kinds of obstacles to create one of the great movies of all time,” says Seattle Rep Artistic Director Braden Abraham. “It’s a pleasure to collaborate with the brilliant writers Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor, along with the visionary director Donna Feore. We’ve been working towards this moment for a while now, and I’m excited to finally share Bruce with our audiences.”
“Hello! We’re not here right now, because we’re off on a vacation!” Begins a note posted on a new website for this upcoming musical. “We’ve been to Wally World, Europe, Vegas … and now, we’re headed to Broadway with a pit stop at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and Theatre Under the Stars in Houston!” The note is signed by Clark, Ellen, Audrey and Rusty Griswold with a P.S. saying “Don’t tell our Cousin Eddie where we are.”
Over the years, the 5th Avenue Theatre has produced 25 stage musicals before they head to Broadway many of which were based on a hit movie. This latest venture just might be the toughest one to translate from screen to stage. Granted, The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation, The Musical isn’t based on a particular movie, but rather the characters in the Warner Bros. Vacation franchise. It makes its debut this fall from September 10 – October 1, followed by an engagement at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars from October 25 – November 6, 2022 before it will become Broadway bound. Other than that iconic station wagon featured in the films, very little information is being given out about this musical so far.
Theater producer Ken Davenport said, “I couldn’t think of a better place for the Griswolds to start their journey to Broadway than Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, and taking a cue from this adventurous crew, continuing the developmental journey at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars. Can’t wait to throw our bags in the family truckster and head out!”
(Main Image: 5th Avenue Theatre)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.