Broadway-Bound 'First Wives Club' Musical Sets Chicago Tryout

First Wives Club Still - H 2014

First Wives Club Still - H 2014

TV veteran Linda Bloodworth-Thomason will adapt the book, with a score by Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland that features original songs and classics.

NEW YORK — The First Wives Club will convene in Chicago en route to Broadway in a new version penned by Designing Women writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert).

The show features a score of new songs and classics by the celebrated Motown team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.

Based on the best-selling Olivia Goldsmith novel and the smash 1996 Paramount screen comedy that starred Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton, the musical centers on three middle-aged former college friends who reunite following a tragedy and discover that they share the humiliation of being shoved aside by their husbands for younger women. That makes it time to turn the tables and get their revenge.

The musical has been substantially revised by the new creative team since an earlier version that debuted at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in 2009, which was directed by Francesca Zambello from a book by Rupert Holmes.

While that incarnation featured only original songs by Holland-Dozier-Holland, the reworked show now also incorporates Motown hits such as "Reach Out … I'll Be There," "Stop in the Name of Love," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "My World Is Empty Without You." It's unclear at this point, however, if the Lesley Gore hit "You Don't Own Me," which was featured prominently in the movie, will be included.

The show will be produced by Broadway newcomers Jonas Neilson and Paul Lambert, and executive produced by veteran Elizabeth Williams (The Secret Garden).

The out-of-town tryout is scheduled for spring 2015 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre, aiming for a Broadway berth during the 2015-16 season. Casting will be announced at a later date.

Five-time Primetime Emmy nominee Thomason makes her musical theater debut on the project. In addition to Designing Women, her extensive television credits include writing a number of episodes of M*A*S*H and being series creator on the early '90s Burt Reynolds comedy Evening Shade.