A new joint venture has big plans for Roy Rogers, prepping to return the cowboy-performer’s brand to the spotlight in a multi-pronged push that includes a brewing Broadway musical penned by Marshall Brickman, the “Annie Hall” co-scribe who also co-wrote the book for “Jersey Boys.”
A Main Stem tuner isn’t the usual choice to lead a concerted effort at bringing back a familiar IP, since film, TV and digital have a much broader reach. But it’s a strategic choice, according to Larry Spangler of the Spangler Group, one of the members of the joint venture.
The older-skewing demo most likely to have a fondness for Rogers’ work, he contends, significantly overlaps with the older auds who make up the Rialto’s prime ticketbuyers. “It’s a perfect fit, because we’re the perfect demographic for Broadway,” he said.
Spangler joins the Roy Rogers Family Entertaiment Corporation and the Roy and Dale Evans Rogers Children’s Trust in Happy Trails, the coalition behind the endeavor. A number of other execs and attorneys also are in the mix.
The brewing musical will include songs written by Rogers and Evans plus original material from other creatives. The latest horse to play Rogers’ trusty steed Trigger also will appear live as part of the show, Spangler said, adding that the plan was to try out the production in Nashville — he’s hoping as early as summer 2014 — prior to bringing the tuner to Gotham.
The plan for the brand resurgence also includes a food and beverage arm (including packaged products sold in grocery stores and a revival of the Roy Rogers restaurant chain) and clothing and merchandising efforts.
Rogers, who died in 1998 at age 86, was during his lifetime one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised celebs his era.