The First Wives Club has become the latest movie to get a musical makeover, with a pre-Broadway production scheduled to begin in the spring of next year. Released in 1996 and starring Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, the comedy became the surprise box office hit of the year, eventually grossing over $181 million worldwide. Its been a bumpy ride trying to take the the story form the big screen to the stage, but it looks like this time producers might be on the right track.
Goldie Hawn was in the original 1996 movie
Based on Olivia Goldsmith’s novel, The First Wives Club followed three recently divorced women who banded together to seek revenge on their wealthy husbands, after they left them for younger models. Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton starred as the vengeful first wives, while Sarah Jessica Parker and Elizabeth Berkley appeared as their husband’s new girlfriends. The comedy was a surprise box office hit, taking over $181million despite mixed reviews.
The first attempt to bring the story to stage occurred in 2009 when it opened in San Diego, with a principal cast of Ana Gasteyer, Carolee Carmello and Adriane Lenox. However cast departures and a mixed critical reaction saw the production axed before it ever made it to the Broadway stage. The new production is scheduled for a Chicago run in spring 2015, before transferring to Broadway for the 2015-2016 season.
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This time, five time Emmy award winning writer Linda Bloodworth Thomason, will be adapting Goldsmith’s novel for the stage. Thomason, is best known for being behind the sitcom ‘Designing Women', which ran between 1986 to 1993. The First Wives Club musical will mark her first time writing for the stage.
Simon Phillips, who directed the most recent touring production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert has signed on to direct, with Elizabeth Williams, Jonas Neilson and Paul Lambert producing. The score will be provided by legendary Motown songwriting team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, who provided songs for the original abandoned production. The team, who are responsible for hits such as 'Stop in the Name of Love' and 'I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)', will be contributing a score said to be made up of classics and new material.
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Producers, Jonas Neilson and Paul Lambert described their happiness with the upcoming producing, saying,“The blend of Holland-Dozier-Holland’s magic with Simon Phillips and Linda Bloodworth Thomason’s imaginations is a made-in-heaven marriage–that just so happens to be about divorce!”
Diane Keaton starred alongside Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler in the First Wives Club movie
While no casting decisions have been announced, Audra McDonald, Sherie Rene Scott and Lili Taylor are set to play the leads in a benefit reading of the screenplay next week. The musical is expected to debut at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre next spring, before heading to New York in time for the 2015-2016 Broadway season.