'Gigi' With Vanessa Hudgens Confirmed for Broadway

Matthew Murphy
Vanessa Hudgens as Gigi

British dramatist Heidi Thomas' new adaptation of the Lerner & Loewe musical will open April 8 at the Neil Simon Theatre.

It's official: Vanessa Hudgens is coming to Broadway in Gigi.

On the eve of the show's tryout engagement — which begins performances Jan. 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with an official opening set for Jan. 29 — producers have confirmed plans to open in New York this spring, in time for 2015 Tony Awards eligibility.

The show is jumping on an unexpected vacancy at the Neil Simon Theatre, where the Sting musical, The Last Ship, is scheduled to close on Jan. 24 after a commercially disappointing four-month run.

Gigi is directed by Eric Schaeffer and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse. The musical will mark the Broadway debut for Hudgens, whose career has run the pop-culture gamut, from High School Musical to Spring Breakers.

Based on the 1944 novel by Colette, Gigi was adapted for Broadway in 1951 by Anita Loos in a version that starred a young Audrey Hepburn. Writer-lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe then reworked the material for the 1958 film directed by Vincente Minnelli, which starred Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan.

Considered the last great MGM movie musical, it won nine Oscars, including best picture. Set in Paris during the turn of the 20th century, it centers on a young woman being groomed in the family tradition to be a high-society courtesan, and the blossoming of her romance with a bored bon vivant.

The new musical adaptation is by British writer Heidi Thomas, whose extensive TV credits include Cranford and its sequel, the revived Upstairs Downstairs and the BBC hit Call the Midwife.

In addition to Hudgens, the Broadway production will star Victoria Clark, Corey Cott, Dee Hoty and Howard McGillin. It starts previews March 19 at the Neil Simon, with an opening night scheduled for April 8.