Beach Boys musical looking to catch a wave in Vegas
By Timothy Pratt
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - As The Beach Boys travel the world on their 50th anniversary reunion tour, a musical about a surfer's adventures featuring the band's hit songs is hoping to catch a wave in the desert casino city of Las Vegas.
"Surf the Musical," a 90-minute production showcasing 35 Beach Boys songs that embody the essence of California's surf culture, begins previews on Friday at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino before opening on July 17 for an indefinite run.
The show, featuring a live band and hit songs like "Good Vibrations" and "Surfin' USA", revolves around a surfer who leaves his California beach town for the big city, regrets his choice, and returns home to what he loves the most: waves, boards, and of course, a woman.
"Surf the Musical" is the fruition of a dream for producer J. Burton Gold, 69, a California businessman who has been a fan of the band since he was a teenager in the 1960s, and saw them live on their reunion tour in May.
Gold licensed the stage rights for dozens of Beach Boys songs for the show and brought in Kristin Hanggi, the Tony-nominated director of the hit Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," to bring it to the theater.
It's not the first time the Beach Boys have inspired a musical. "Good Vibrations," which followed three high school friends who drive to California, had a short-lived run on Broadway in 2005 after being savaged by New York theater critics.
But Gold said he wanted "Surf the Musical" to "honor and deliver the music," without embedding it in an overly stylized production.
"I didn't want to ‘Broadway-ize' it. I wanted to keep it Hawthorne," he said, referring to the Southern California city where The Beach Boys was founded in 1961 by Brian Wilson, his late brothers Dennis and Carl, cousin Mike Love and their friend Al Jardine. Continued...