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WB, Ives set for ‘Bat’ tuner

Grammy-winning tunesmith Steinman to pen lyrics

Warner Bros. has ignited the bat signal, and playwright David Ives seems ready to heed the call. The playwright, best known for plays such as “Ancient History, “Mere Mortals” and “English Made Simple” is close to a deal that has him writing the book to the WB’s first foray onto Broadway, “Batman: The Musical.”

Having struck out with the flopped feature animation “Quest for Camelot” which died in theaters, the WB is now seeking to capitalize on the theatrical gold mine of Broadway. Disney hits “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” have racked up grosses as some of the White Way’s biggest shows.

And while Jim Steinman, the Grammy-winning tunesmith who penned Meatloaf’s 50 plus million selling “Bat Out of Hell” albums, — and who co-penned tunes for the Dodger’s current Broadway effort, “Footloose” — is attached to handle music and lyrics for the caped epic, no helmer has yet inked to “Batman”. Insiders say that Stephen Daldry, best known for current Broadway legiter “Via Dolorosa” and helming the London and Broadway productions of “An Inspector Calls,” has since passed on the project, and now efforts are being made to recruit Robin Phillips, helmer of current Pace Theatricals Broadway hit “Jekyll and Hyde” to helm Gotham’s heavyweight crime fighter.

Warner Bros. execs declined to comment on the hires at deadline late Wednesday.

Ives is repped by William Craver at Writers & Artists Agency in Gotham; Steinman is managed by David Sonenberg. Craver declined to comment.

Time Warner, which controls the rights on the DC Comics character, is aiming to place the tuner on B’way by early 2001.

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