Legit director Mike Ockrent has inked a two-year, first-look deal with Warner Bros. to direct feature musicals, execs said Tuesday. The British-born helmer does not have a specific project in the pipeline, but is looking for a base to direct musical pics.
“We are looking at a very diverse spectrum of films,” Ockrent said in a statement. “Although most are music-based, they incorporate music in the broadest sense of the word, from biographical stories and adaptations of Broadway shows to original scripts with cutting-edge soundtracks.”
Separately, Ockrent announced that Amy Bedik has been named exec director of his New York-based company, Ockrent Prods. Ltd.
Ockrent’s extensive London stage credits include “Educating Rita” and “Follies.” His Broadway breakthrough came in 1986, when he repeated his West End staging of “Me and My Girl.” On Broadway, he also directed the Gershwin musical “Crazy for You,” which won three Tony Awards, including best musical.
Ockrent’s other New York credits include the musical “Big” and Madison Square Garden’s annual holiday show “A Christmas Carol.”
“We have known and admired Mike for many years as he has built an enviable career bringing hit musical productions to the stage in America and overseas,” said Bill Gerber and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, WB presidents of worldwide theatrical production, in a statement. “It gives us great pleasure to announce that we have expanded this collaboration to facilitate Mike’s acquisition, development and production of several projects over the coming years at Warner Bros.”
Warner Bros. could also benefit from Ockrent’s working partnership with his wife, choreographer Susan Stroman. Stroman, who recently choreographed the Broadway production “Steel Pier,” worked with Ockrent on both “Crazy for You” and “Big.”
Most recently, Ockrent staged the concert production of the Alan Menken/Tim Rice oratorio “King David” that inaugurated the Walt Disney Co.’s New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway last May. Ockrent and the authors will develop “King David” for future stagings.
In addition to his stage credits, Ockrent directed and co-wrote the BBC films “Dancin’ Thru the Dark” and “Money for Nothing,” with the latter featuring Martin Short.