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Showtime, Spielberg team on series

Show to chronicle development of B'way musical

Showtime and Steven Spielberg want to put on a show about putting on a Broadway show.

DreamWorks TV and Showtime are in the early stages of developing a scripted series that will chronicle the development of an original Broadway musical, from its creative inception through its opening night. The intention is to then mount the tuner on the Main Stem after the series airs.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are well versed in adapting tuners for the big- and smallscreen, are in negotiations to join the project, as are tunesmiths Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. DreamWorks TV toppers Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank are shepherding the project with Spielberg.

Reps for Showtime and DreamWorks declined comment.

Spielberg has been developing the concept for the TV-to-legit show for years, and he’s been hands-on in setting up the project at Showtime and recruiting Zadan, Meron, Shaiman and Wittman, all of whom have worked together on past projects.

Showtime was the natural home for the untitled project given that its entertainment prexy, Robert Greenblatt, is a legit buff who recently moonlighted as the producer of tuner “9 to 5.” DreamWorks TV already produces Showtime’s half-hour dramedy “United States of Tara,” whose star, Toni Collette, earned the comedy actress trophy at Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

The team is now in the process of meeting with writers to create the series, which will offer a behind-the-scenes look at every aspect of launching a tuner, from penning the songs to recruiting investors. The show will incorporate multiple points of view on the process, and it will depict the personal lives of selected key players. It’s not yet been determined whether it’ll be a half-hour or hourlong skein.

Shaiman and Wittman wrote the music and lyrics for the tuner adaptation of “Catch Me if You Can,” Spielberg’s 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio starrer, which had its tryouts in Seattle this summer and is expected to hit the Rialto this season or next. And Shaiman and Wittman worked with Zadan and Meron on the 2007 feature rendition of the musical “Hairspray.”

The ambitious project will represent a logistical challenge as scripts and production of the TV series are juggled along with the development of tunes to be featured in the show and eventually on the stage. The hope is that the series would run for multiple seasons, possibly focusing on new productions or fresh iterations of the original tuner.

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