A jukebox musical based on the music of Max Martin looks to be heading to London’s West End next year. The Swedish writer-producer, who is behind some of the biggest pop hits of the past 20 years, working with artists such as Adele, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, is now collaborating on the show, whose title has not been revealed.
An open casting call for the musical was put out this week by Stuart Burt Casting. The call says the show is being “created with Max Martin” and “uses his incredible catalog of songs as inspiration” – a catalog that includes such hits as Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” and Swift’s “Shake It Off.” The project is “in final stages of development,” the casting notice said, and is expected to launch in July 2019 outside of London before moving to the West End.
Sources told Variety that the project is already generating “a great deal of interest” in the U.K. industry.
Producers are looking to cast an ensemble of “exceptional pop singers,” in their 20s and 30s and from various ethnic backgrounds, “who can act [and] dance to a high standard.” Those cast are expected to be available to work from February next year and be eligible to work in the U.K. through to the end of 2020.
Most jukebox musicals revolve around the songs of a single musician or band, such as “Mamma Mia!”, the hit stage show (and later hit movie) based on the music of Abba. But a musical based on Martin’s back catalog could potentially bring together music from some of the most popular musicians of the past two decades.
Although specific songs were not mentioned in the casting call, the notice name-checks Adele, Spears, Perry, The Backstreet Boys, Justin Bieber, Swift, Timberlake, Pink, Robyn and The Weeknd among the artists Martin has written and produced for.
Martin has won five Grammy Awards, including two last year: one for co-writing and producing Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” which won best song written for visual media, and another for co-producing Adele’s album “25,” which won album of the year. He has written or co-written 22 songs since 1999 that have become U.S. No. 1 hits.
Tony- and Grammy-winner Bill Sherman (“In the Heights”) is serving as musical supervisor on the new show. Luke Sheppard, who worked with Sherman on the British production of “In the Heights,” which won three Olivier Awards, will direct. Sheppard also served as an associate director on major West End musical hits “Matilda” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”
The musical is being written by playwright and screenwriter David West Read, a regular writer and executive producer on Netflix comedy “Schitt’s Creek.” Choreography will be handled by Jennifer Weber (“The Hip Hop Nutcracker”).
Burt was formerly the head of casting for the Ambassador Theatre Group before setting up his own casting agency.