Show will be co-written by 'Officer and a Gentleman' scribe
Big-budget tuner “An Officer and a Gentleman — The Musical,” an Aussie-U.S. co-production based on the Richard Gere starrer, will world preem next May in Sydney.Tuner was announced Monday at a presser on board the HMAS Sydney, moored at the city’s Garden Island naval base. It is skedded to bow May 24 at the Lyric Theater, produced by Australia’s Gordon Frost Organization and Sharleen Cooper Cohen, also the co-writer of the show. Musical will be helmed by Simon Phillips, outgoing topper of Melbourne Theater Company and director of “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert,” now on Broadway and the West End. Douglas Day Stewart, who penned the movie, will co-script the tuner with Cooper Cohen. Auditions were held in Sydney last week, with casting now 80% completed. Tuner will also feature the key tune “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, a song that won an Oscar and Grammy upon release; new score and songs will be provided by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner. “All of the classic, beloved musicals in history have had source material. I went down the list of famous love stories and I thought that ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ would sing to the world,” Cooper-Cohen said at the launch. “It had every element of all the classic iconic musicals and it was based on brilliant source material. It’s a movie that people see again and again, written by Douglas Day Stewart, who told part of the story of his own life in it. So for me it was the perfect vehicle for a musical.” Producer John Frost said the world preem further cemented Down Under’s reputation as a pre-Gotham proving ground for tuners after it bowed “Doctor Zhivago,” also produced by Frost, in February. “It’s bringing Americans and Australians together to do commercial new works,” said Frost. Cooper-Cohen also praised Australia’s talent pool and government support while acknowledging that economics was a strong factor in her choice to preem the show in Sydney.