A top-tier creative team is saddling up for the new bio-musical Happy Trails: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in Song & Story, based on one of vintage Hollywood’s most iconic couples and a unique part of American pop-culture history.
Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken will compose the score, working with his frequent lyricist partner Glenn Slater. Previous collaborations by the two have included Disney’s Tangled as well as the stage musical versions of Sister Act and The Little Mermaid and the new ABC series Galavant.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Roy Rogers since I was a kid, so working on this show is a dream come true,” said Menken. “Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were consummate, one-of-a-kind entertainers and I’m extremely excited to create a period-specific score that celebrates their legacy.”
Des McAnuff, who staged the long-running smash Jersey Boys and won Tony Awards for his work on Big River and The Who’s Tommy, will direct.
As previously announced, Marshall Brickman is writing the book for the new musical, which traces Rogers’ journey from an impoverished Ohio childhood to become a beloved star of film, television, radio and recordings, flanked by his cowgirl wife Evans and his golden palomino Trigger, the only horse ever to get above-the-title screen billing.
Rogers’ popularity spanned from 1945 through 1975. He starred in 88 films, headlined 100 episodes of NBC’s The Roy Rogers Show and sold more than 150 million comic books. His image also appeared on over 2.5 billion boxes of Post Cereal.
Producer Larry G. Spangler and The Spangler Group are aiming to bring the developing project to Broadway in 2016.
McAnuff and Brickman previously teamed on Jersey Boys, for which the writer won a Tony. Brickman is also an Oscar-winning screenwriter for Annie Hall. McAnuff this season will direct the new Broadway musical Doctor Zhivago, opening April 21.
Menken is currently represented on Broadway with Disney’s Aladdin, the biggest breakout hit of 2014, which has grossed $64 million to date. He won a Tony in 2012 for Newsies.