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Hitchcock Classic 'Rear Window' To Be Adapted for Broadway Stage

Producers Charlie Lyons, Jay Russell and Tim Guinee have acquired rights to Cornell Woolrich's 1942 noir short story and are in talks with top theater directors and playwrights on the project.
Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Hitchcock's "Rear Window"

NEW YORK -- After a two-year campaign to secure the never-before-granted stage rights, a producing consortium led by Charlie Lyons, Jay Russell and Tim Guinee has acquired the classic crime story Rear Window to be adapted for Broadway.

The 1942 tale by Cornell Woolrich, the original title of which is It Had to Be Murder, concerns a wheelchair-bound man who believes he has witnessed a killing in his neighboring New York City apartment and begins conducting his own dangerous investigation. It is best known via the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, which starred James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

While Broadway rights have reportedly been sought numerous times over the years from the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust and its predecessors, this is the first time the option has been granted.

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"We are assembling a world-class team of artists to bring this timeless thriller to the stage," said Russell. "Woolrich's story is deliciously dark and edgy, and our plan is to make it brand new all over again."

Lyons is managing partner of Holding Pictures and a partner in Beacon Communications. He and Russell have collaborated for over a decade. Russell is best known as the director of such family films as My Dog Skip, Tuck Everlasting and The Water Horse. He also directed the 2004 firefighter drama Ladder 49, with John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix, on which he and Lyons met cast member Guinee.

Lyons is currently represented on Broadway as a producer of Bring It On: The Musical. No timeline has been set for the Rear Window production, for which a playwright and director are to be announced.

Hitchcock classics are currently being revisited in the HBO film The Girl, which premiered Oct. 20 on the cable network. It deals with the obsessive relationship between the director and his star Tippi Hedren during shooting of The Birds and Marnie. Fox Searchlight has a Nov. 23 release scheduled for Hitchcock, which stars Anthony Hopkins as the master of suspense and Helen Mirren as his wife Alma; that film focuses on the making of Psycho.

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