NEW YORK — Gregory Mosher and his producing partner Arielle Tepper are in negotiations with the Shuberts to secure the Belasco Theater for a Broadway transfer of “James Joyce’s The Dead,” by Shaun Davey and Richard Nelson. The musical play opened to enthusiastic reviews Oct. 28 for a sold-out five-week run at the not-for-profit Playwrights Horizons theater on West 42nd Street.
Arthur Cantor and Carol Ostrow’s production of the Julie Harris starrer “Scent of the Roses,” by Lisette Lecat Ross, had been scheduled for the 1,108-seat Belasco, but its Dec. 12 opening has been postponed indefinitely.
“Nothing’s signed, nothing’s completed, nothing’s locked down,” Mosher said. “We’re in talks with the actors about continuing, and so far they are all extremely enthused about continuing and that includes specifically Christopher Walken, with whom I’ve spoken personally in the last 48 hours.”
Blair Brown, Daisy Eagan and Marni Nixon are also featured under the direction of Richard Nelson and Jack Hofsiss.
Mosher went on to note that he and Tepper were talking to potential producing partners. “Real estate, a few actors and a little money, and you’ve got yourself a play. But nothing will be done until everything is done,” he said.
In bringing this dramatization of Joyce’s short story to Broadway, the producer is not deterred by critics who wrote that the show may be too intimate for a larger house. The Playwrights Horizons theater seats 141.
“You don’t want to go to the (1,513-seat) Winter Garden,” Mosher said, “but at the Belasco, 13 people singing full voice will be fine.”
Mosher recalled his work as artistic director at the Goodman Theater, with works like “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Hurlyburly,” which played to 135 seats. “I have a lot of experience moving shows from small theaters to 1,000-seat theaters,” he noted. “Almost invariably, they play better in the larger space. The audience brings energy.”
Mosher expects negotiations to be in place for “The Dead” transfer in “a matter of weeks, not months.” He also mentioned a limited 12- to 13-week run of the musical play.
“I’m not sure how long we’ll hold onto the company. No one is going to get rich doing this,” he said. “Let’s bite off a medium-size piece to start with. It will not be ‘James Joyce’s The Dead: Now and Forever.’ ” He thought a moment, then added, “Now for a while.”
These days, Mosher is commuting between Broadway and Hollywood, where he is prepping the film “Prime Gig,” starring Ed Harris and Vince Vaughn, for Cary Woods’ Independent Pictures. It marks his film directorial debut.