Woodstock the Musical
by DAVE ITZKOFF
Published: September 10, 2009
They say that if you can remember the original Woodstock festival,
you probably weren't there. But if you helped organize that three-day
concert of peace, love and music, you can apparently produce a
Broadway musical about it. On Thursday Michael Lang, one of the
producers of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, said he planned
to bring a new show to Broadway that would use elements from his
recent memoir, "The Road to Woodstock," written with Holly
George-Warren. He said the as-yet untitled musical, planned for the
2010-11 Broadway season, would center on the lives of people who
attended the festival and how the experience affected them. Mr. Lang,
who is producing the musical with Samuel G. Nappi, chairman of
Alliance Energy in New York, said that he was in talks with potential
members of the show's creative team, but that its lineup had not been
Michael Lang plans Woodstock '69 musical for Broadway
September 11, 2009
First it was an iconic concert, then an acclaimed documentary film.
It was followed by countless books and recordings, not to mention a
recent film by Ang Lee.
Next, it'll be a Broadway musical.
Woodstock music festival co-producer Michael Lang and his business
partner said Thursday that a new musical celebrating Woodstock is in
the works for the 2010-11 theater season.
Lang has already created a cottage industry out of the Woodstock
brand, launching a Web site, woodstock.com, in 2008 which lists
concerts and presents content focused on the 1969 event and
partnering with Sony to release material from the festival, among
During the 40-year anniversary weekend in August, Lang remarked that
he was working with Sony and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts,
talking "about future plans together."
Lang failed in an attempt to present a 40-year-anniversary concert in
Brooklyn's Prospect Park, coming up short of the $8 million to $10
million necessary to host the concert he proposed.
"It just didn't come together," Lang told the Times Herald-Record on
July 31. "The possibilities are not strong enough for it to look like
it has a shot."
The Broadway musical will be based on Lang's best-selling book, "The
Road to Woodstock."
Lang and partner Sam Nappi say there's no title yet, and that the
show's creative team is being assembled. It will feature new music,
as well as songs performed at the concert.
Woodstock's Curtain Call
By Michael Riedel
HELLO, hippies! Broadway's tapping into nostalgia for the '60s in a
big way. The revival of "Hair" is going gangbusters, having recouped
its $6 million investment in just five months. Now comes word that
Michael Lang, the music promoter who created the Woodstock music
festival 40 years ago, is producing a musical based on that legendary
event. "Anybody who's ever approached me about Woodstock always says
it changed their lives," says Lang. "I hope to deliver that
experience to a Broadway audience." The musical, as yet untitled,
will be based in part on Lang's new book, "The Road to Woodstock," an
enjoyable behind-the-scenes account of the concert. "I want to tell
the story of Woodstock through various people who were there - a crew
member, one of the bands, somebody who was in the crowd," he says. "I
hope the show captures some of the spirit of the summer of 1969."
Lang is shopping around for a writer. High on his list, I'm told, is
Rick Elice, who co-wrote (with Marshall Brickman) "Jersey Boys" and
the upcoming "The Addams Family." It wouldn't be a bad idea to bring
Brickman on, as well. Elice is strong on sentiment and good feeling,
while Brickman, an old showbiz cynic, injects a nice dose of vinegar.
And, as Lang's book reveals, Woodstock wasn't all peace and love.
There were some tough negotiations with both the locals of Bethel,
NY, (where the concert took place) and with agents representing the
artists. Among the directors said to be interested in the project is
Matthew Warchus, who staged two of last season's best shows, "God of
Carnage" and "The Norman Conquests." Diane Paulus, who staged "Hair,"
is another, if obvious, possibility. As for the score, Lang says
he'll use some of the classic songs from Woodstock as well as new
numbers written by some of the people who performed at the concert,
including John Sebastian, Richie Havens and, possibly, Joe Cocker,
whom Lang managed for many years. "I've talked to quite a few
performers about the musical, and everybody seems interested," says
Lang. Look for the Woodstock musical to hit Broadway in the 2010- 2011 season.
THE boys of "Billy Elliot" are growing up. Kiril Kulish, who shared a
Tony with David Alvarez and Trent Kowalik, is leaving the hit show
Oct. 3 because, well, he's too tall. He's almost as tall, in fact, as
Greg Jbara, who plays Billy's father. Stephen Daldry, who directed
the show, told me a few months ago that the kids who play Billy have
a run of, at most, 18 months before they outgrow the role. But a lot
can come from that 18-month gig. Kulish has been offered a part in
the national tour of "The Kings of Dance" as well as full
scholarships from the Royal Ballet in London, the Paris Ballet and
the American Ballet Theatre. WORTH checking out: Nicolle Rochelle, a
terrific talent, playing Josephine Baker in "Looking for Josephine."
The show's run begins Thursday at the Alexander Kasser Theater at New
Jersey's Montclair State University. Here's what Jean-Claude Baker,
the owner of restaurant Chez Josephine and the adopted son of
Josephine Baker, says about it: "Darling, it is wonderful, wonderful!
If you close your eyes, it is mother!"