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The race for best musical at the 2017 Tony Awards is heating up, with the confirmation of one more strong contender before the current season wraps next April.
Producers announced Wednesday that Amelie, A New Musical, will begin previews March 9 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with an official opening set for April 3. Joining previously announced lead Phillipa Soo as Amelie’s love interest Nino is Adam Chanler-Berat, seen on Broadway in Peter and the Starcatcher and Next to Normal.
Based on the 2001 French film that became an international box-office sensation, the show features a book by Craig Lucas and music by Daniel Messe of Brooklyn alt-rock band Hem. Messe co-wrote the lyrics with Nathan Tysen. Set in a whimsical version of contemporary Paris, the musical follows the shy Amelie through the magical Montmartre of her imagination, chronicling her dilemma as she discovers that it’s easier to bring joy to others than break free from her own isolation.
Tony-winner Pam MacKinnon will direct the production, with choreography by Sam Pinkleton. Following the show’s 2015 premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where the title role was played by Samantha Barks, Hamilton breakout Soo returns to the role that she originated in early workshops.
Amelie will play a pre-Broadway engagement Dec. 4 through Jan. 15 at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. The show is produced on Broadway by Harbor Entertainment, Triptyk Studios and Spencer Ross.
The confirmation of Amelie for the 2016-17 Broadway season brings the number of new musicals competing for Tony honors to 13.
That crowded field includes critical favorites that have transferred from off-Broadway, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Dear Evan Hansen; two shows that had successful runs at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, A Bronx Tale, co-directed by Robert De Niro, and Bandstand; London imports Groundhog Day and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; the 9/11 musical Come From Away; the a cappella show In Transit; Cirque du Soleil’s first foray into traditional musical theater, Paramour; Anastasia, inspired by the 1997 animated film; Holiday Inn, the Irving Berlin musical adapted from the 1942 Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire movie; and War Paint, an original musical about the rivalry between cosmetics queens Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein.
The cut-off date for eligibility for the 71st Annual Tony Awards is April 27, with nominations to be announced May 2. The awards will be presented June 11 in a ceremony broadcast live on CBS from a New York venue to be announced.
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