Synchronize your watches. The Future is headed...to the Stage! We have just received official confirmation that the original Back to the Future film is currently being developed into a musical — a project that's quietly been in the works over the past decade — and is planned in alignment with the film's 30th Anniversary next year.
Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are currently working with Universal Stage Productions (Wicked and Billy Elliot), London-based producer Colin Ingram (Ghost - The Musical) and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment to develop a stage musical version of their film Back to the Future. It will be produced with Donovan Mannato and CJ E&M. The new musical will have a book by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Jamie Lloyd, and new music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, with additional music from the film by Huey Lewis & The News, Chuck Berry, Pat Ballard and Curtis Williams, including 'The Power of Love' and 'Johnny B. Goode'. The production will be directed by Jamie Lloyd, with set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, illusions by Paul Kieve, lighting design by Jon Clark, and musical supervision by Alan Williams. Andrew Willis will be skateboard consultant.
Bob Gale first publicly hinted at the idea of a Back to the Future musical nearly ten years ago while making a guest appearance at the biennial DeLorean Car Show & Convention in June 2004. Having previously stipulated early on during a Q&A session that there would never be a fourth Back to the Future theatrical film, when asked by an audience member about whether he would approve any further spin-offs or continuations of the series via other mediums, Gale responded with the first clue that he and Robert Zemeckis had been discussing the possibility of a musical spin-off.
"Now actually what Bob and I've talked about — we can't do it because we don't know how to do this kind of thing — but you know how they bring back movies as Broadway musicals?", the Back to the Future co-creator asked a packed Tennessee gathering of DeLorean enthusiasts. "It seems like Back to the Future would make a great Broadway show. So someday, maybe that'll happen. That's something I'd like to see."
Since that time though, details have been kept confidential even as internet reports have prematurely surfaced stating that Back to the Future would soon be headed to Broadway. Today's news fully reveals the creative team's plans to first open the musical in London sometime in 2015 before it is hopefully brought stateside to Broadway.
Bob Gale says, "The Back to the Future Musical is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost ten years. We're thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake. Director Jamie Lloyd is full of passion, energy and imaginative ideas and we are overjoyed to have the film's composer Alan Silvestri composing the music, with lyrics by Glen Ballard who has also collaborated with Zemeckis before on many projects. With all of us working together, we know the integrity of the material will be preserved in a production that will be a wonderful companion to the Trilogy. We intend to use music from the movie along with brand new songs to make a version of Back to the Future that is fresh, entertaining, and takes advantage of all the amazing things that can now be done on stage. We can't think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film."
Jamie Lloyd adds, "I was five when I saw Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale's landmark movie, Back to the Future, and I have been a huge fan ever since. I am thrilled to be directing and co-writing this exciting new musical based on their masterful film, which has become embedded in our popular culture. Rather than attempt to recreate such an iconic movie on stage, we have assembled a brilliant artistic team to discover a unique theatrical language to take audiences on a journey through time in a vibrant, unexpected way. The production will include illusions, skateboarding and many other surprises that will capture the spirit of the film but freshly interpret it for a new audience. Steven Spielberg once described the film as a musical and whilst we are incorporating some of the original, exhilarating score and songs, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's witty, infectious and heartfelt new songs are the perfect springboard to tell this uplifting story anew."
Back to the Future the movie was released in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown. The film took $360.6 million at the box office worldwide and the total box office for all three films in the Back to the Future franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today's money).
Marty McFly is a teenager who is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown. As well as finding a way back to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents unite in order to save his own existence.
About the Creative Team
Robert Zemeckis directed all three of the Back to the Future films, as well as Romancing the Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump, for which he won the Oscar for Best Director. Further directing credits include Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, The Polar Express, Flight and A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey.
Bob Gale co-wrote and co-produced the Back to the Future Trilogy with Robert Zemeckis, his longstanding collaborator. In addition to numerous other screenplays, he has also written comics, including issues of Batman and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Alan Silvestri first worked with Robert Zemeckis on the 1984 film Romancing the Stone. Since then, he has composed the music for all of Zemeckis's films, including the Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump, Cast Away and The Polar Express. He won two Grammy Awards for 'Believe' from The Polar Express and for Cast Away.
Six-time Grammy award winner Glen Ballard has sold more than 150 million records worldwide and has worked with Aretha Franklin, Van Halen, Aerosmith and Michael Jackson, to name a few. He cowrote and produced Billboard magazine's Best Album of the Decade (1990s), the multi-platinum "Jagged Little Pill", for Alanis Morissette. He co-wrote the Grammy award-winning 'Believe' with Alan Silvestri for The Polar Express and his other songs for films include 'Ordinary Miracle' for Charlotte's Web and 'A Hero Comes Home' for Beowulf. He co-wrote music and lyrics for Ghost – the Musical with Dave Stewart.
Director Jamie Lloyd's recent credits include The Pride with Hayley Atwell and Macbeth with James McAvoy at the Trafalgar Studios and The Commitments at the Palace Theatre. Other credits include Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway, The Duchess of Malfi at the Old Vic, She Stoops to Conquer at the National Theatre, Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre, The Lover and The Collection at the Comedy Theatre, and the musicals Passion (Best Musical Evening Standard Award) and Piaf at the Donmar Warehouse, where he was Associate Director from 2008 to 2011.
Soutra Gilmour won the Evening Standard Award for Best Design for Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar Warehouse and Antigone at the National Theatre. Her other theatre designs include Macbeth, The Hothouse and The Pride at Trafalgar Studios, Strange Interlude at the National Theatre, Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier and Harold Pinter, Into the Woods at the Open Air Theatre and the Public Theater in New York, and Cyrano de Bergerac at the Roundabout Theater in New York, for which she received a Tony nomination.
Paul Kieve has been responsible for the illusions in Ghost - The Musical (for which he won a Drama Desk Award) and Matilda in the West End and on Broadway, as well as Pippin on Broadway and The Lord of the Rings in the West End. He has worked with Derren Brown on his Svengali and Enigma West End shows and his television series, and recently has been working with Dynamo. His films include Martin Scorsese's Hugo and he was magic consultant on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and coached Anne Hathaway on Batman – The Dark Knight Rises. Paul was awarded the 2013 Creative Fellowship by The Academy of Magical Arts (Magic Castle) Hollywood, the highest award for creativity in magic.
Skateboard consultant Andrew Willis built a skate park in East London using reclaimed materials left over from the Olympic Games, creating a lasting legacy for the local community of Hackney Wick, and his story features in the most recent Google television advertisement.
published: Thursday January 30th 2014