Musical version of ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ coming to Pasadena Playhouse in 2012


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A musical stage version of the hit 1993 movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ will have its world premiere in 2012 at the Pasadena Playhouse. The project, which has Broadway aspirations, features a book written by Jeff Arch, who wrote the original story and co-wrote the screenplay for the Nora Ephron romantic comedy.

‘Sleepless’ is set to run at the Pasadena Playhouse June 12 to July 15, 2012. The production will be directed by Joel Zwick and feature songs written by Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson.


The musical had a pair of readings in November in New York, with Megan Hilty and J. Robert Spencer in the roles played by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in the movie. No casting has been announced for the Pasadena production.

David Shor, one of the producers of the musical, said that show will be largely faithful to the movie. The story follows the romantic yearnings of Annie, a Baltimore journalist, who becomes obsessed with Sam, a Seattle widower, whom she hears on a call-in radio program.

Shor said that he acquired the theatrical rights to the material with Arch, who is his business partner. Producers of the musical had originally brought on board Oscar-winning composer Leslie Bricusse to write the songs for the show. But Shor said that Bricusse’s music ‘wasn’t the type of sound we felt this show needed, which is a more contemporary sound and style.’

They eventually hired Citrin, a young composer whom Shor had followed online, and Nelson, her songwriting partner. Garin, a musical comedy writer and performer, also joined the songwriting team.

Sheldon Epps, the artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, said he chose ‘Sleepless’ as part of the upcoming season based on reading the script and listening to the music. ‘It’s very, very faithful to the film script,’ he said.


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-- David Ng

om Hanks, with Ross Malinger (center), in the 1993 movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle.’ Credit: Bruce McBroom