Flaming Lips musical to debut in late 2012, minus Aaron Sorkin


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‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,’ the new musical based on the Flaming Lips’ 2002 album of the same name, will make its debut later this year at the La Jolla Playhouse, the theater company announced on Wednesday. The musical will have its world premiere in either November or December, in a production directed by Des McAnuff.

Despite its title, ‘Yoshimi’ will feature songs from a number of other albums by the Flaming Lips, including ‘The Soft Bulletin’ and ‘At War with the Mystics,’ the company said. The alternative rock band from Oklahoma City is led by frontman Wayne Coyne.


‘Yoshimi’ has been in the works since at least 2007. Aaron Sorkin, the writer of TV’s ‘The West Wing’ and the movie ‘The Social Network,’ had previously been tapped to pen the book for the musical. But Sorkin’s name is conspicuously missing from Wednesday’s announcement.

The announcement states that the musical is written by McAnuff. [Updated, March 15 9:30 a.m.]: The director issued the following statement via the La Jolla Playhouse:

‘Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips and I have been working on Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots for some time. Aaron Sorkin initially planned to write a book for the musical, but when it became clear that the musical would be ‘sung through,’ Aaron turned his attention to other projects. In the meantime, Aaron and I have started work on another play. Wayne and I continue to fine tune the libretto and score for the musical which will go into rehearsal in La Jolla in the middle of September. We are both looking forward to Yoshimi with keen anticipation. We know that we have Aaron’s enthusiastic blessing on our project.’

‘Yoshimi’ will tell the story of a young Japanese artist who journeys into a robot world where she must contend with a host of evil forces. The La Jolla Playhouse said the production will feature multimedia stage effects. McAnuff, who served as the artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994 and 2001 to 2007, is currently the head of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. (He will step down from that post at the end of the 2012 season.) His many directing credits include ‘Jersey Boys’ and the current Broadway revival of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’


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-- David Ng