'Doctor Zhivago' to Sing on Broadway in Spring

Doctor Zhivago
MGM/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Peter O'Toole turned down the title role, so David Lean settled on another Lawrence of Arabia star, which is how Sharif went from playing an Arab prince to a Russian physician.

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Good musicals are made in heaven … or some such place.

?Doctor Zhivago is heading to Broadway this spring.

The new Broadway musical — based on Boris Pasternak’s Nobel Prize-winning 20th-century epic, which also became a beloved 1965 David Lean film — will begin previews on March 27 before an April 21 opening at the Broadway Theatre.

The Russian romance centering on five intertwined lovers is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys), with a book by Oscar nominee Michael Weller (Ragtime), music by Grammy winner and Tony nominee Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden), lyrics by Tony nominee Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Emmy nominee Amy Powers (Ella Enchanted), and choreography by Tony nominee Kelly Devine (Rocky).

The show will be produced on Broadway by Anita Waxman, Tom Dokton, Latitude Link, Ted Hartley/RKO Stage and Chunsoo Shin, with Joe Corcoran, J. Todd Harris, The Pelican Group and John Frost. Junkyard Dog Productions is executive producer.

"Doctor Zhivago has a profound and exquisite intimacy," said director McAnuff in a statement. "The story is about five people — three men in love with one woman and two women in love with one man. While they are so close to us that we can reach out and touch them, they also live out their lives over a vast stretch of Russian history from the streets of Moscow to the icy slopes of the Ural Mountains."

"The heart of our story is the discovery that love through art can survive even the most unimaginably violent and turbulent times," continued McAnuff. "Working on this has given us all on the team the kind of emotional inspiration that we hope to pass on to New York audiences. The story of Doctor Zhivago is just as pertinent today as it was 50 years ago. It continues to advance on the edge of time."

Additionally, Doctor Zhivago will feature scenic design by Michael Scott-Mitchell (Wagner’s Ring Cycle), costumes by five-time Tony nominee Paul Tazewell (Memphis), lighting by Tony winner Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys), sound by Tony winner Steve Canyon Kennedy (700 Sundays) and projections by Sean Nieuwenhuis (Jesus Christ Superstar), with music arrangements by Eric Stern and musical supervision by Ron Melrose.

Casting will be announced at a later date. The first block of tickets will go on sale Nov. 10.

Doctor Zhivago received its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2006. In 2011, a revised production opened to critical acclaim at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney.

Lean's 1965 film adaptation of Pasternak’s work was nominated for 10 — and won 5 — Academy Awards. It starred Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin and Tom Courtenay. Adjusted for inflation, the 1965 title is the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time.

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee