'Sleepless in Seattle' Musical Sets World Premiere With New Director

The Wrap
'Sleepless in Seattle' Musical Sets World Premiere With New Director
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'Sleepless in Seattle' Musical Sets World Premiere With New Director

A musical adaptation of "Sleepless in Seattle" has set its world premiere for May 24 at the Pasadena Playhouse with a new director in place.

Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will take over directing chores from Lonny Price, who was originally supposed to stage the show. Price was dropped because of "creative differences" with members of the creative team as well as other commitments, an individual with knowledge of the production told TheWrap.

"Sometimes it seems that life in the theatre is all about change," Epps said in a statement. "I am pleased that a recent change in my own schedule allows me to take on the joy and excitement of directing this musical."

The production will run from May 24, 2012, to June 23, 2013, with a press opening night scheduled for June 2.

The musical is aiming for a move to London or to Broadway after its run at the Playhouse, perhaps following the path of "Sister Act," which opened on London's West End before transferring to Broadway, another individual with knowledge of the musical told TheWrap.

Epps has been tasked with re-imagining the hit romantic film, which starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in two of their best known roles and boasted a crackling script from the late Nora Ephron, as a love story set to music. Like the film, the play will center on a widower and single father, who ends up attracting the interest of a woman across the country after his son calls into a talk radio program looking for a new mother.

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Epps staged has directed "Blues in the Night," "Play On!," "Baby It's You" and "Scenes and Revelations" on Broadway. The theater company is partnering with David Shor Productions on the world premiere of "Sleepless in Seattle - The Musical."

A developmental workshop is also scheduled to take place in early March.

The musical version of the hit romantic comedy has a book by Jeff Arch, music by Ben Toth and lyrics by Sam Forman. The theater company said casting will be announced at a later date.

The change in directors is not the only shakeup the play has endured during its journey to the stage. Last July, Toth and Forman were tapped to replace the previous songwriting team of Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson, with producer David Shor explaining that they had not composed enough "great music" to justify an entire show.

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