‘Death’ gets new life as a musical

Roundabout producing Off Broadway bow of Yeston's latest

A tuner from Maury Yeston, “Death Takes a Holiday,” will get a world preem from the Roundabout Theater Company this summer at the Gotham nonprofit’s Off Broadway space.

Yeston (“Nine,” “Titantic”) writes music and lyrics, with a book from the late Peter Stone (“1776,” “Titanic”) and Thomas Meehan (“Hairspray,” “Annie”). Doug Hughes helms the tuner, based on the 1920s Italian play by Alberto Casella.

“Death” makes the second half of the Roundabout’s 2010-11 season unusually heavy on tuners, following an upcoming Broadway revival of “Anything Goes” launching in March and the April preem of musical “The People in the Picture.”

Storyline of “Death” follows the Grim Reaper’s stint as a human at a villa in post-WWI Italy. Tale has been seen in screen adaptations including the 1934 Paramount outing and Universal’s 1998 version called “Meet Joe Black.”

Yeston, whose musical “Nine” was revived on Broadway in a 2003 staging produced by the Roundabout, has been working on “Death” for a number of years. Meehan joined the creative team after Stone’s 2003 demise.

Hughes (“Doubt”), best known for helming plays rather than musicals, directed the Roundabout’s recent Main Stem revival of “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.”

“Death Takes a Holiday” begins previews June 10 ahead of a July 14 opening at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theater.

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