NEW YORK — Four decades after its Broadway premiere, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe‘s musical Gigi will return for the first time in a major revival.
Directed by Eric D. Schaeffer, who staged the acclaimed 2011 revival of Follies, the show is being reworked in a new adaptation by British playwright Heidi Thomas, an Emmy-nominated television writer known for her work on Cranford, Upstairs Downstairs and Call the Midwife. A developmental reading is scheduled to take place in New York this month.
While no firm dates have been set, producer Jenna Segal has announced that the show is targeting the 2013-14 season.
Set in Belle Epoque Paris at the turn of the 20th century, Gigi follows a precocious young girl being groomed as a courtesan in the family tradition who falls unexpectedly in love with a wealthy playboy.
“It’s a touching, funny, captivating story of love and all the trials that go with it,” said Thomas. “Set in the most beautiful era in the history of the world’s most romantic city, the messages in Gigi endure — Know your own worth. Write your own rules. And when you find love, never let it go.”
Based on the 1945 novella by Colette, the Lerner & Loewe show debuted in 1958 as one of the last of the splashy MGM movie musicals, starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, it won nine Oscars, including best picture, and was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry in 1991. Classic songs from the musical include “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “I Remember it Well” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.”
Perhaps due to its vast inferiority to Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady, the original 1973 Broadway production ran for a disappointing 103 performances despite winning the Tony Award for best original score. The story also appeared on Broadway in a 1951 non-musical adaptation by Anita Loos that starred Audrey Hepburn in her first major role.
Casting and creative team for the musical revival will be announced later.