Jukebox musicals, especially those that tell the biographical tale of their titular subjects, seem to be all the rage in recent years. That trend won’t be going away anytime soon as a biographical musical inspired by the life of music legend Neil Diamond is preparing to light-up Broadway. Producers Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio announced today that the “yet-to-be-titled” piece is in development. The musical will feature a book by three-time Academy Award-nominated dramatist Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything), and the score will be composed of a string of Neil Diamond song favorites. The musical will be directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer.
“I’ve always loved Broadway. The inspiration for many of my early songs came from shows like West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, so it seems only fitting to bring my songs to The Great White Way. I’m honored and excited to be working with this great team.”
Weighing-in on the new project, Mr. Diamond said, “I’ve always loved Broadway. The inspiration for many of my early songs came from shows like West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof, so it seems only fitting to bring my songs to The Great White Way. I’m honored and excited to be working with this great team.”
Diamond’s story is described as follows: “With his first break into songwriting in the 1960’s and his meteoric rise in the 1970’s, and plenty of crushing disappointments and heart stopping triumphs along the way, Neil Diamond has maintained an almost unthinkable level of superstardom for five straight decades. How did a poor, Jewish kid from Brooklyn become one of the most universally adored showmen of all time? There’s only one way to tell it: a musical set to his era- and genre-defining smash hits that entranced the world.”
In a statement, Mr. McCarten said, “On the mantle-piece in my childhood home in New Zealand, there were always two pictures: one was of the Pope, the other of Neil Diamond. The epic musical catalogue of this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer flowed endlessly off our family record player. As a child you took it into yourself, and to this day I can recite the lyrics of his hits deep into their second or third verses. Imagine my excitement, then, when the opportunity arose to work with Neil on a musical based on his life and music. A very, very easy and so sweet ‘Yes!’”
Known for a bevy of pop music song classics including “Cracklin’ Rose,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Song Sun Blue,” “Longfellow Serenade,” “I’ve Been This Way Before,” “If You Know What I Mean,” “Desiree,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “America,” “Yesterday’s Song,” “Heartlight,” Diamond is a Grammy-winning artist (with 13 nominations to his name) and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Diamond received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime of contributions to American culture.
Additional details about the forthcoming musical will be announced shortly.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.