“The Last Goodbye,” a rock-tuner adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” featuring the songs of Jeff Buckley, is gearing up to preem during the 2010-11 legit season.
Show is the first to be authorized by and created in conjunction with the estate of the late Buckley, the singer-songwriter who has attained a cult following since his 1997 death at the age of 30.
Show weaves Buckley tunes — including “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” and “Eternal Life” — into Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, with dialogue takendirectly from the Bard play.
Michael Kimmel conceived, adapts and directs the show in collaboration with Mary Guibert, Buckley’s mother and the executor of his estate, and Jeff Buckley Music.
Although the musician recorded only a single album in the studio — “Grace,” released in 1994 — further material, including studio and demo tracks for his unfinished second album, has been released posthumously following his accidental drowning.
Buckley also got a recent profile boost when his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was performed by a contestant on “American Idol” in 2008, helping to push the song onto Billboard and iTunes digital charts.
A concert version of “Last Goodbye” was seen last year at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, where three dates sold out quickly thanks in part to the support of Buckley’s fans.
An upcoming developmental reading in Gotham is in the works, with a full production out-of-town soon to be finalized. A couple of commercial producers also are eyeing the property.
Kris Kukul is music director and arranges Buckley’s rock songs for the stage. Lauren Fitzgerald is credited as creative consultant.