Buckley musical will premiere as part of summer festival
“The Last Goodbye,” the new adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” featuring the music of Jeff Buckley, has found its launchpad, playing a summer run at the Williamstown Theater Festival with commercial producers already attached to the project.
WTF will produce the world preem in association with Hal Luftig (“Legally Blonde”), Ruth and Stephen Hendel (“Fela!”) and Alan D. Marks and Stephen Moore (“Finian’s Rainbow”), a team of producers who look poised to shepherd the show toward a future life.
“Last Goodbye” will fill the final slot in the summer lineup of second-stage offerings at the annual fest in Williamstown, Mass. Previously announced shows on the Nikos Stage, the smaller of the festival’s two spaces, include Judy Gold and Kate Moira Ryan’s “It’s Jewdy’s Show: My Life as a Sitcom,” Mat Smart’s “Samuel J. and K.” and Amy Herzog’s “After the Revolution.”
Last year a concert version of “Last Goodbye” played Joe’s Pub in a short run that sold out thanks in large part to the fanbase for Buckley, the singer-songwriter whose reputation and following have snowballed since his 1997 death at age 30. A developmental industry reading was held in Gotham last month.
“Last Goodbye” uses Buckley tunes, including “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” and “Eternal Life,” to tell the starcrossed-lovers story of “Romeo and Juliet,” working in dialogue from Shakespeare.
Director Michael Kimmel conceived the project and adapted the Bard play. Kris Kukul orchestrates, music-directs and arranges the Buckley songs for the show, which is authorized by the Buckley estate.
The 56-year-old WTF is one of the more prominent summer fests in the northeast, being close enough to New York to attract star names and other industry players. This year the fest’s mainstage season includes “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Our Town” and “Fifth of July,” with Campbell Scott, Dylan Baker and Christopher Fitzgerald among the thesps signed up for stints on the boards there.
“Last Goodbye” runs Aug. 5-20.