Capitalizing on Hugh Jackman’s recent B.O.-busting Broadway stint, producers of developing tuner “Houdini” have confirmed the show as Jackman’s next Main Stem project, targeting a 2013-14 opening for the new musical with a score by Stephen Schwartz and book by Aaron Sorkin. Jack O’Brien is onboard to helm.
Project has been brewing for a couple of years, but Jackman’s rumored attachment hadn’t been officially confirmed before. Danny Elfman was previously onboard to provide the tunes.
Jackman is one of the Rialto’s truly bankable stars. Thesp spent the fall breaking house records with “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway,” which raked in a whopping $14.6 million in a run of just 10 weeks. He logged similarly stellar returns for his 2009 stint in play “A Steady Rain” with co-star Daniel Craig and previously scored a Tony for his role in 2003 outing “The Boy From Oz.”
Schwartz, meanwhile, is the composer of “Wicked,” the box office powerhouse that regularly sits atop the weekly sales charts. (A current revival of Schwartz’s “Godspell,” however, hasn’t caught fire in the same way.) Sorkin is a high-profile screen scribe thanks to his work in TV (“The West Wing”) and film (“The Social Network”), although his most recent play, “The Farnsworth Invention,” closed swiftly in the 2007-08 season.
O’Brien’s Rialto helming credits include “Hairspray,” “The Coast of Utopia” and, most recently, “Catch Me If You Can.”
Scott Sanders (“The Color Purple”) produces “Houdini” with David Rockwell, the architect and designer who also will design the “Houdini” set.
Storyline of the show follows the conflict between Houdini and three women who gained renown as a spiritualists. Further production details — including exact Broadway dates and theater, as well as information about any out-of-town tryout — have yet to be set.