Broadway Musical to Lead Roy Rogers Brand Revival

Roy Rogers Broadway Musical
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Strategy for IP resurgence spearheaded by a stage musical rather than a film or TV outing

A new joint venture has big plans for Roy Rogers, prepping to return the cowboy-performer’s brand to the spotlight in a multi-pronged push that includes a brewing Broadway musical penned by Marshall Brickman, the “Annie Hall” co-scribe who also co-wrote the book for “Jersey Boys.”

A Main Stem tuner isn’t the usual choice to lead a concerted effort at bringing back a familiar IP, since film, TV and digital have a much broader reach. But it’s a strategic choice, according to Larry Spangler of the Spangler Group, one of the members of the joint venture.

The older-skewing demo most likely to have a fondness for Rogers’ work, he contends, significantly overlaps with the older auds who make up the Rialto’s prime ticketbuyers. “It’s a perfect fit, because we’re the perfect demographic for Broadway,” he said.

Spangler joins the Roy Rogers Family Entertaiment Corporation and the Roy and Dale Evans Rogers Children’s Trust in Happy Trails, the coalition behind the endeavor. A number of other execs and attorneys also are in the mix.

The brewing musical will include songs written by Rogers and Evans plus original material from other creatives. The latest horse to play Rogers’ trusty steed Trigger also will appear live as part of the show, Spangler said, adding that the plan was to try out the production in Nashville — he’s hoping as early as summer 2014 — prior to bringing the tuner to Gotham.

The plan for the brand resurgence also includes a food and beverage arm (including packaged products sold in grocery stores and a revival of the Roy Rogers restaurant chain) and clothing and merchandising efforts.

Rogers, who died in 1998 at age 86, was during his lifetime one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised celebs his era.

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  1. Sue Davis says:

    Roy Rogers had something that no other cowboy had.. He had Trigger, a star all his own! Kids will fall in love with Roy and Trigger all over again.. I think it would be great if Roy’s grandson Dustin would follow in his grandfathers footsteps.. Your the country with a new Trigger.. Kids and adults alike would fall in love again!!
    Come join my FACEBOOK group
    Roy Rogers Roundup..

    Happy Trails.. 🐎

  2. Sue Davis says:

    Hi, I ran across this information about Roy Rogers going to Broadway.. I have been keeping an eagle eye out on any new information on this.. I am very excited about This! I miss Roy and Trigger so much! Hope this happens soon… Thanks

  3. Brad Baugh says:

    I disagree … I think the Roy Roger presentation will succeed.

    The Lone Ranger was a radio character created to show right over evil and the story was not designed to vary from the original concept and expect to survive … this is true of most “redos”. Those “redos”that have had some success are those that spin from the original such as the “Green Hornet” being the LRs nephew or the son of McGarrett in “Hawaii 5-0”. “Elementary” has succeeded not because of trying to copy Doyle but using a fresh new approach to the character created by Doyle. Holmes had problems and short of solving a mystery was not held accountable for his actions unlike the Lone Ranger character.

    Roy Roger was a living person. He was an actor who played many parts even though each show was similar in that he was the main lead. The success of the Roy Roger story will be the strength presented by Roy and Dale as parents and leading the generation of children in the beliefs they represented not only on the screen, but also in real life. Their family represents the success of their beliefs. Their story will be familiar to their many fans and a biographical success for the grandchildren and youngster who have never heard of Roy Rogers. If the story is to be a western adventure starring Roy it should have an introduction similar to stories “Dusty” Roy Rogers tells about his family and then presented as movie episode Roy was filming. The lead will need to be an actor with ties to the west and represent honesty in his real life. If the audience can say Roy would have been proud to be represented by “……” then the show will succeed.

    • Sue Davis says:

      Definitely succeed.. This country is in dire need of someone like Roy, Trigger, Dale, Gabby.. Matinees on Saturday mornings.. Catch a whole new generation just coming into the world before computers ruin them!

  4. Warren says:

    If you want to see an RR revival musical fall flat on its face, take a lesson from the recent Lone Ranger movie. Aside from a couple of characters and cherry-picked plot devices, it bore no resemblance to the TV or radio series. There the LR and T were HERO/RESCUERS who sought JUSTICE when the local sheriff wasn’t too effective and modestly left the scene after subduing another bad guy. No one in the movie had a single socially redeeming quality. No one tried to rise above their condition. This was the feature that made the LR popular for over 27 years.

    If you want to see an updated treatment of the LR, take a look at the CBS show, “Person of Interest.” It has everything: Harold (the new Tonto) rescues John Reid, now John Reese, from a life of dissipation and self-pity and gives him purpose; Tonto may ask, “What we do now, Kemo Sabe?” and Harold may ask, “Where are you now, Mr. Reese?”, but both questions are designed to help the action hero focus on his task. Harold and Tonto both know the answers, they’re just steering their great ones back to the mission. Harold even reflects the Ranger’s penchant for wounding, not killing as he restrains Mr. Reese’s frequent exuberance as he metes out well-deserved justice to the bad guys. No silver bullets, no mask, no “Hi yo, Silver, away”— just the same, honest vigilante justice that made the LR popular in the first half of the 20th Century.

    The best way to succeed with RR in the 21st Century is to refer back to Roy’s recording of “Hoppy, Gene, and Me.” It says it all.

    Focus on ideals, you say!

    Absolutely, say I! In a world where biopics search out the most salacious truths of a protagonist’s life and not only bring our heroes down to earth but plunge them into the muck (and deeper if possible) with the rest of us, we ignore that ideals are not to LIVE BY but to STRIVE FOR.

    The 2013 Ranger and Tonto gave up fighting for justice. Faced with bad guys who twisted and warped the law to their own ends, they opted for revenge because it was easier.

    If all of us were ideal as human beings than virtues such as the twelve points of the Boy Scout law: trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, etc., would be easily achieved. But we’re not perfect human beings and ideals don’t come to us preinstalled. That’s what made the original Ranger and Tonto and now Reese and Harold so attractive: in an imperfect world they struggle toward perfection in the face of their imperfections.

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