'Bull Durham' Musical to Premiere in Atlanta

Ron Shelton has adapted his Oscar-nominated screenplay for the 1988 baseball movie that starred Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

NEW YORK -- A musical based on the film that Sports Illustrated once proclaimed the "No. 1 Greatest Sports Movie of All-Time," Bull Durham, will premiere in September 2014 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

Ron Shelton, who directed the 1988 hit, has written the book for the musical, adapted from his Oscar-nominated screenplay. Music and lyrics are by singer-songwriter Susan Werner, whose recordings have ranged across folk, jazz, gospel, country and roots rock.

Loosely based on Shelton's time on and off the field in Minor League baseball, the comedy-drama follows veteran catcher "Crash" Davis' experiences after being enlisted to prepare the North Carolina Durham Bulls' undisciplined rookie pitcher, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, for the season. A complicated romantic triangle develops when team groupie Annie Savoy's interventions get in the way.

The movie starred Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. Produced by Orion Pictures on a modest $9 million budget, the film was a critical hit that grossed a healthy $50.8 million in domestic release.

Kip Fagan, known for his Off Broadway stagings of Jesse Eisenberg's plays Asuncion and The Revisionist, will direct the Bull Durham musical, with Joshua Bergasse (NBC's Smash) handling choreography. Casting and production schedule will be announced at a later date.

While the show is not officially being billed as a Broadway tryout, commercial producers will no doubt be heading to Georgia to assess its potential. The Alliance Theatre has a solid track record as a testing ground for Broadway and touring productions, having provided pre-New York exposure for Disney's Aida, The Color Purple, Bring It On and Sister Act, among others.