What do you get when you have Hugh Jackman as the star of your musical, Aaron Sorkin writing the book and Stephen Schwartz composing the score? One would expect from the calibre of that lineup you should have a Broadway hit on your hands. Instead you are left with all three men dumping the project and a musical that may never see the light of day.
The New York Times reports the Jackman-inspired musical about one of the most famous escape artists and illusionists of all time, Hungarian-American Harry Houdini, is in a spot of bother. Sorkin wrote a script while Schwartz composed more than a dozen songs for the show, but things weren’t coming together the way the producers had hoped, so even more time, energy and rewrites were needed.
Four years on, Jackman was flat chat with film commitments, while Sorkin was being kept busy with his television show The Newsroom. This is a double-edged sword – the more talented your creative team, the more projects they are involved in elsewhere, resulting in a development phase that drags on and on (now more than six years). Meanwhile, Stephen Schwartz can just sit back and chill for the next twenty years if he wants to, after the phenomenal success of Wicked The Musical.
One by one, all three men have now left the project and sadly, Houdini the musical may just be another Broadway illusion. Pity.