NBC Developing Period Musical Drama From 'Dirty Blond' Playwright

'Voice of the City' will take place in 1891 New York and feature original musical elements.
Courtesy of Universal Television

The musical genre is alive and well at NBC.

Less than a week after The Wiz Live! brought in big numbers, the network has put a period musical drama from Tony Award-nominated playwright Claudia Shear into development, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Voice of the City is an hourlong drama set in 1891 New York that captures the rise of the city. The sweeping story is told from the point of view of a romantic showman, Patrick, and his love, Lucy, as they struggle to craft a life in a new land in the only business they know.

Like NBC's ambitious New York-based musical Smash, the project will feature original music elements from Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who are attached as executive producers. Writer Shear (Dirty Blond) and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty) will also exec produce. Universal TV will produce.

The pickup comes just two years after Smash went off the air. However, that drama's short life span hasn't dampened NBC's appetite for musicals. The network has put on live musical productions for the last three years — the most recent being The Wiz Live!, which grabbed a 3.4 demo rating and yielded largely positive reviews.

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, who produced the Broadway adaptation of the 1980 film 9 to 5, has also expanded the network's slate to include variety shows with heavy musical elements, such as Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris.

NBC has another musical project in development: a funeral-home musical drama from Jason Katims (Parenthood) and The Wiz Live! exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Shear is preparing to launch a musical adaptation of Tuck Everlasting on Broadway in the spring. She is repped by CAA and Schreck Rose.

Pasek and Paul's other credits include Broadway's A Christmas Story and upcoming movie musicals La La Land and The Greatest Snowman. They are repped by CAA, Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Management and Schreck Rose.

Cohen, whose other credits include Silver Linings Playbook, Milk and Pushing Daisies, is repped by CAA and Bloom Hergott.