“Almost Famous” is almost ready for Broadway. The specific New York theater has yet to be announced, but opening dates for the musical adaptation of the Cameron Crowe film were revealed by the Shubert Organization on Thursday, with previews set to begin Sept. 13 and an official opening night of Oct. 11.
If not for the pandemic, “Almost Famous” almost surely would have been opening a year or two earlier, as it was considered very much ready for prime time during a rapturously received preliminary engagement at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater in 2019. Los Angeles Times critic Charles McNulty wrote then that the seemingly hitch-free show was “destined to conquer Broadway.”
Jeremy Herrin, a stalwart of the British theater, directs, as he did with the Old Globe’s successful production, with a score featuring music by Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal,” “If/Then”). Kitt and Crowe collaborated on the lyrics, and Crowe wrote the musical’s book, based on his original screenplay from the semi-autobiographical 2002 film hit. (Although the songs are almost all original, the show also includes a handful of outside period ’70s numbers.) Sarah O’Gleby is handling the choreography. The show is produced by Lia Vollack Productions and the Michael Cassel Group.
A cast album is also due this fall. A music video created by Crowe for one of the songs, “Everybody’s Coming Together,” featuring the cast in casual hang-out mode, was released Thursday.
Most of the principal cast members who took part in the San Diego production are carrying their roles over to Broadway, including Solea Pfeiffer, who did the seemingly impossible and made theatergoers momentarily forget about Kate Hudson as she assumed the role of groupie Penny Lane. The same goes for Casey Likes, who won plaudits for taking on the filmic Patrick Fugit part as William Miller, a fictionalized teen-rock-journalist version of the real-life Crowe; he gets an “introducing” credit in the announcement, in now making his Broadway debut.
Another crucial role, that of the teen protagonist’s worried mom, Elaine, will be played by Tony winner Anika Larsen, who proved a show-stopper with a couple of standout numbers at the Old Globe. Rob Colletti, as the late, true-life rock-crit legend Lester Bangs, also returns, and presumably will narrate, as he did in the earlier production.
New to the company for its Broadway bow is Chris Wood (“Supergirl,” “The Vampire Diaries”), who will play the Sweetwater band’s lead guitarist, Russell Hammond, a role that belonged to Billy Crudup in the film. It’s Wood’s Broadway debut.
Other cast members include Drew Gehling, who was also part of the San Diego cast, as Stillwater lead singer Jeff Bebe, along with Matt Bittner, Chad Burris, Gerard Canonico, Julia Cassandra, Brandon Contreras, Jakeim Hart, Van Hughes, Jana Djenne Jackson, Katie Ladner, Danny Lindgren, Erica Mansfield, Alisa Melendez, Emily Schultheis, Daniel Sovich, Libby Winters and Matthew C. Yee.
Tickets went on sale this morning, here. Although the Shubert Group is holding off on naming the theater, the existence of a seating chart will no doubt lead to a lot of educated guesswork about which of the organization’s many Broadway venues will be housing the show.