'First Wives Club' is Chicago's next Broadway tryout

Broadway TheaterNetherlandsBill ClintonOriental TheaterDiane KeatonChicago LoopGoldie Hawn

A new musical version of "The First Wives Club," with a new book penned by the writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, making her theatrical debut, is to be Chicago's next pre-Broadway tryout, opening in the Loop next spring and aiming for Broadway in the 2015-16 season.

The score (a mix of new numbers and jukebox songs) will be penned by the veteran Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland — or Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. The production is to be directed by Simon Phillips, known for his prior work on the musical "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

Along with  husband Harry Thomason, Bloodworth-Thomason is known for her close relationship with former president Bill Clinton; she and her husband made the famous "The Man From Hope" short film that helped Clinton tell his story (and make his case) as part of his successful presidential campaign. The couple also created the sitcom "Designing Women."

In an interview this weekend, Bloodworth-Thomason said that her new show will be based on the 1992 Olivia Goldsmith novel, which deals with the revenge of rejected spouses, as well as the 1996 movie of the same name, which starred Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler. Bloodwoth-Thomason will also have access to an earlier book, penned by Rupert Holmes, that was part of a prior attempt to turn this title into a musical. Bloodworth-Thomason says she did not see that version, staged at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2009 under the direction of Francesca Zambello and the recipient of mixed-to-negative reviews.

"I really see this as my chance to do broad-shouldered women," she said.  "I really love these three girls."

"The First Wives Club," which is not yet cast, will play at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. The  opening date has yet to be announced and single tickets are not yet on sale.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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