‘Baby’ gets Broadway birth

Warner Bros. produces Mutrux's classic-pop musical

Warner Bros. Theater Ventures is steering its second show this season to Broadway, producing golden-oldies pop tuner “Baby It’s You!” with American Pop Anthology in a run that opens at the Broadhurst Theater in the spring.

Beth Leavel (“The Drowsy Chaperone”) will topline the musical, starring as Florence Greenberg, the woman who discovered 1960s girl group the Shirelles and went on to found Scepter Records.

Tuner is conceived by Floyd Mutrux, who also co-writes with Colin Escott and co-directs with Sheldon Epps. “Baby It’s You!” is the second in a series of musicals by Mutrux centered on the history of rock ‘n’ roll and pop music, following Sun Records-set musical (and current Main Stem offering) “Million Dollar Quartet.” Mutrux also conceived “Quartet” and wrote the book with Escott.

Earlier this season, Warner Bros. launched the tuner adaptation of screen comedy “Elf” with a strong-selling holiday run on Broadway. Before that, company’s most recent Gotham stage outing was the short-lived “Lestat” in 2006.

“Baby It’s You!” chronicles Greenberg’s journey from New Jersey housewife to top record exec after she discovered the Shirelles at her daughter’s high school. Score includes well-known tunes such as “Dedicated to the One I Love,” “Duke of Earl,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Stop in the Name of Love.”

Like “Million Dollar Quartet,” subject matter and score of “Baby It’s You!” target the same nostalgic baby-boomer demo that has helped turn Four Seasons bio-musical “Jersey Boys” into a smash. “Quartet” has logged middling but largely consistent weekly sales since it opened last spring.

“Baby It’s You!” preemed in a 2009 production at the Pasadena Playhouse after a couple of workshops at L.A.’s Coast Playhouse.

Broadway incarnation of the show has choreography by Birgitte Mutrux with a design team that includes Anna Louizos (sets), Lizz Wolf (costumes), Howell Binkley (lights) and Carl Casella (lights).

“Baby It’s You!” begins previews March 26 ahead of an April 27 opening.

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