Early productions for two Hollywood-title tuners — “Secondhand Lions” and “The Jungle Book” — and the world premiere of a musical bound for New York are among the slew of notable productions to wash up in the wave of 2013-14 season announcements from regional theaters around the country.
The long-gestating tuner adaptation of 2003 New Line heart-tugger “Secondhand Lions” — which has been shepherded over the years by Mark Kaufman, the former New Line Cinema exec who’s now one of the toppers of Warner Bros. Theater Ventures — will bow at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater in the fall (Sept. 10-Oct. 6). The show, with book by Rupert Holmes (“Drood”) and tunes by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (“First Date”), is billed as a 5th Avenue Theater production and Warner Bros. will produce with them. Scott Schwartz (“Golda’s Balcony”) helms.
Meanwhile, Mary Zimmerman’s stage version of “The Jungle Book,” which preems at Chicago’s Goodman Theater in June, will get its second incarnation this fall at Boston’s Huntington Theater, where the show, produced in association with the Goodman, will run Sept. 7-Oct. 6. Disney Theatrical Prods. has its eye on the project for potential future life, even if the longtime success of “The Lion King” — another Disney tuner in which most of the actors portray animals — may keep the title from landing in Gotham anytime soon.
Next spring, Dallas Theater Center will debut a musical adaptation of Jonathan Lethem novel “The Fortress of Solitude,” from “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” tunesmith Michael Friedman, book writer Itamar Moses (“Nobody Loves You”) and director Daniel Aukin (“4,000 Miles”), also credited as a co-creator.
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DTC presents “Fortress” (March 7-April 6, 2014) as a co-production with New York’s Public Theater, where the tuner has already locked in a slot in that org’s 2014-15 season.
Alongside “Secondhand Lions,” the 5th Avenue season lineup also will include a new production of the recent musical version of “A Room with a View” as well as tour stops from recent Broadway alums “Porgy and Bess” and “Anything Goes.”
In Boston, the Huntington season will also feature two play preems: “Becoming Cuba” (March 28-April 26, 2014) by Melinda Lopez (“Sonia Flew”) and helmed by M. Bevin O’Gara, and “Smart People” (May 23-June 21, 2014) by Lydia R. Diamond (“Stick Fly”), staged by current a.d. Peter DuBois (“Sons of the Prophet,” “Becky Shaw”), both at the company’s second stage.