Jeff Buckley Musical Tunes Up at San Diego’s Old Globe

Jeff Buckley Musical Tunes Up San
David Gahr

'The Last Goodbye' run isn't a pre-Broadway tryout, but New York is in project's sights

The Last Goodbye,” the tuner mash-up of “Romeo and Juliet” and the songs of Jeff Buckley, will open the 2013-14 season at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater.

Production, to be directed by Alex Timbers, isn’t billed as a pre-Broadway tryout, but its Rialto ambitions are no secret. The Old Globe partners with commercial producers Hal Luftig (“Kinky Boots”), Ruth and Stephen Hendel (“Fela!”), the Marks-Moore-Turnbull Group and exec producer Lauren Fitzgerald on the title.

Conceived and adapted by Michael Kimmel, “Last Goodbye”  world premiered at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 2010. Since then Timbers, whose rock-pop tuner credits include “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and the current David Byrne-Fatboy Slim project “Here Lies Love,” has signed on to “Last Goodbye,” collaborating at the Old Globe with “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Sonya Tayeh, who also choreographed the Williamstown incarnation.

With the current creative team, the musical has undergone a series of developmental workshops over the last couple of years, shepherded by the project’s commercial producers.

Tuner proceeds with the blessing of the Buckley estate, including the late musician’s mother, Mary Guibert. Kris Kukul provides the orchestrations, music direction and arrangements of the songs drawn from the Buckley catalog.

Buckley, whose death in 1997 spurred the rocker’s cult following, is also the subject of the current biopic “Greetings From Tim Buckley.” The Penn Badgley starrer world premiered last fall in Toronto and will screen this month as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

“The Last Goodbye” uses the original text and period setting of William Shakespeare’s story of doomed teen love and remixes them with the modern rock of Buckley’s tunes. No cast has yet been set for the Old Globe staging, which begins previews Sept. 20 ahead of an Oct. 6 opening.

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