The Washington Post

New ‘Gigi’ musical to be unveiled in D.C.

The upcoming production of “Gigi” is based on the 1958 movie with the same title. The film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, starred Louis Jourdan, Leslie Caron, and Maurice Chevalier. (Anonymous/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The producers of a newly announced revival of “Gigi” — a stage musical adapted from the Academy Award-winning movie — are hoping that Washington audiences remember it well. The launch of this latest version of the musical, which ran briefly on Broadway in the early 1970s, is to occur in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in January 2015, the production’s organizers announced Wednesday.

Eric Schaeffer, Signature Theatre’s artistic director, has been recruited to direct the production, which features a score by the “My Fair Lady” team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe and includes such hummable standards as “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.” The musical’s book is being rewritten by British dramatist Heidi Thomas, whose résumé includes the screenplay of the BBC’s “Cranford.”

The project’s lead producer, Jenna Segal, a former executive at MTV and Nickelodeon, said in a statement that the revival will make its debut in Washington before moving to Broadway, although a path to New York remains in the early planning stages and probably will depend partly on the production’s D.C. reception. A cast, design team and theater to house the show in New York have yet to be announced.

The Schaeffer-directed “Million Dollar Quartet” completed a second engagement at the Kennedy Center last month. Before that, Schaeffer’s most recent collaboration with the center was on a well-received revival of the Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman musical “Follies,” which was later produced by the Kennedy Center on Broadway.

The center, however, does not have the same leadership role in the revival of “Gigi,” a musical built around the exploits of Gigi, a budding courtesan, in Parisian high society. It is merely providing the Eisenhower for what is being called the show’s “pre-Broadway engagement.”

Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer is set to direct the upcoming production of “Gigi” at the Kennedy Center. (Russ Hirshon)

Lerner and Loewe wrote “Gigi” as a 1958 movie that starred Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Hermione Gingold and Louis Jourdan, and won nine Academy Awards. (It was adapted from the play by Anita Loos, based on a novella by Colette.) In 1973, the film was turned into a stage musical, to disappointing results. It closed on Broadway after only 103 performances.

Peter Marks joined the Washington Post as its chief theater critic in 2002. Prior to that he worked for nine years at the New York Times, on the culture, metropolitan and national desks, and spent about four years as its off-Broadway drama critic.



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