Director finds his new ‘Paradise’

Harold Prince's musical to bow at Menier

LAS VEGAS — “Paradise Found,” the latest musical from director Harold Prince, will bow at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory next spring before a Gotham run.

Prince (“The Phantom of the Opera”) will co-direct with Susan Stroman (“The Producers”). John Cullum, Mandy Patinkin, Shuler Hensley, Judy Kaye and Emily Skinner are all expected to take lead roles, according to the helmer.

Director revealed the news to Daily Variety at the first international “Phantom of the Opera” fan confab at the Venetian Hotel in Vegas.

in recent years the Chocolate Factory has generated a number of productions that went on to West End and Broadway transfers, such as “Sunday in the Park With George” and this season’s upcoming Broadway stagings of “La Cage aux Folles” and “A Little Night Music.”

Prince said he expects to go into rehearsal April 12 for the Chocolate Factory production of “Paradise Found,” which is planned to run seven weeks and then move soon thereafter to New York.

He last worked with Stroman on the 1994 Broadway revival of “Show Boat,” which Prince helmed and Stroman choreographed.

“Paradise Found” is based on a novel, “The Tale of the 1002nd Night,” by Viennese author Joseph Roth. Tuner’s book will be penned by Richard Nelson; Ellen Fitzhugh has provided lyrics to music by Johann Strauss II, as adapted by Jonathan Tunick.

Plot centers on an impotent Shah (Cullum) with 139 wives. The ruler’s eunuch (Patinkin) convinces him to travel to Vienna, where the Shah falls in love with the empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Prince, who has made no secret of his unfavorable opinion about the Broadway trend toward long lists of above-the-title producers, said he’ll keep the number of producers on “Paradise” low.

“I’m insisting that on this show we have only four producers, that we do it on a budget of $7 million and that we pay it off,” he said.

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