D.C. theater set for musical's pre-Broadway tryout

A Broadway tryout for a stage tuner version of “Like Water for Chocolate” is on the 2011-12 season slate at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Mexican-American songwriter Lila Downs and Paul Cohen pen the songs for the musical, which has a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes (“In the Heights”). Based on the Laura Esquivel novel that inspired the 1992 movie, tuner centers on a woman whose frustrated passion for a man shows itself in her cooking. Ted Sperling and Jonathan Butterell co-direct the show, in which Downs will be featured as a performer as well.

“Like Water for Chocolate” is presented at the Arena by special arrangement with Margo Lion Ltd. Broadway credits for commercial producer Lion include “Hairspray” and the upcoming “Catch Me If You Can.”

World preem of “Water for Chocolate” runs Sept. 9-Oct. 30. Show is one of 11 offerings in Arena’s lineup, including Karen Zacharias’ “The Book Club Play” and Amy Freed’s “You, Nero,” both of which are penned by resident writers at the company. One world preem on the lineup, Tazewell Thompson’s “Mary T. and Lizzie K.,” comes from a member of Arena’s Writers Council.

Also on the bill are revivals of familiar titles “The Music Man,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night” and “Ah, Wilderness!” Broadway alum “Red” also gets a slot.

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