Film producer betting musical of 'Finding Neverland' will fly on Broadway

Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:36pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Finding Neverland," Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein's first hands-on foray into musical theater and which follows the British family that inspired Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie's classic children tale "Peter Pan," has staked its place on Broadway.

After the reworking of the 2012 version that played in England and a dispute over publicity in New York, the musical will begin performances in March and open on April 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

"Finding Neverland," with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow of British pop group Take That, chronicles Barrie's friendship with the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her young sons.

Barrie, a playwright, is in the midst of a career slump and suffering from writer's block when he meets and befriends the family in a London park. They help him find joy again in his life and the imagination and courage to write his tale about the boy who can fly and who never grows up.

"At the end of the day, this is about the power of imagination, and what better place to explore that than in the theater," said Matthew Morrison, the Broadway veteran and star of the hit TV series "Glee," who plays Barrie in the musical.

"Finding Neverland" marks a return to Broadway for Morrison after a seven-year absence. The musical also stars "Frasier" actor Kelsey Grammer in the dual roles of Captain Hook and Barrie's theatrical producer Charles Frohman.

"Finding Neverland" is based on Weinstein's 2004 film of the same name, starring Johnny Depp as Barrie and Kate Winslet as Llewelyn Davies. Although Weinstein has been involved in other Broadway shows, this collaboration with Tony-winning director Diane Paulus ("Pippin") is close to his heart.

"The alchemy is mine and Diane has been the leader ever since and it has been great," Weinstein told Reuters.   Continued...

Producer Harvey Weinstein and wife, designer Georgina Chapman, arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok