$11 million musical currently playing in L.A.
“Minsky’s” is looking to raid Broadway, with producers confirming they aim to bring the tuner to Gotham in the summer or fall.A Rialto run had always seemed likely for the $11 million musical, now playing at Center Theater Group’s Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. Commercial producers Kevin McCollum (“In the Heights”) and Bob Boyett (“The History Boys”) are attached. McCollum previously teamed with the Ahmanson for the out-of-town tryout of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which went on to a 2006 Tony-winning Rialto run. Creative team of “Minsky’s,” which has music by Charles Strouse (“Annie”) and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (“Jelly’s Last Jam”), includes “Drowsy” alums Bob Martin, who penned the book, and helmer-choreographer Casey Nicholaw. Certainty of the Broadway transfer of “Minsky’s” was temporarily called into question when the show, which opened at the Ahmanson Feb. 6, earned mixed reviews. But according to McCollum, it’s all part of the process. “The reviews were of our first developmental production,” he said. “The thing that makes a show grow is when you add an audience. This was our first audience, and critics were a part of that audience.” In the interim before the Rialto engagement, the creative team will continue to work on the show — one of the final steps in a long road to Gotham for the tuner. Originally based on 1968 pic “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” the show had been slated to bow at the Ahmanson in 2000, but the 1999 death of original director Michael Ockrent scuttled that plan, and the show lost another creative when original book writer Evan Hunter died in 2005. Nicholaw and Martin joined the project in the last year or so. Strouse (who also wrote the music for the film) and Birkenhead have been with the tuner all along, but the current score is largely comprised of new tunes. The musical’s Depression-set tale centers on the famous Gotham burlesque house run by Billy Minsky. Christopher Fitzgerald (“Young Frankenstein”) heads a cast that includes Beth Leavel, George Wendt and Rachel Dratch. “Minsky’s” ends its run at the Ahmanson March 1.
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