Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sprecher, Forlenza Birth Global Broadway

I received this press release yesterday. Of course, Sprecher doesn't acknowledge in his bio that he's the reason the Variety Arts was demolished in favor of a horrible monstrosity of a condo, a tacit admission that the Off-Broadway commercial business model is completely dead, more or less.



Producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza announced today the formation of GLOBAL BROADWAY PRODUCTIONS INC., a new production entity created to develop and produce new musicals for Broadway, the road, and international stages. The company comes into existence with three major musicals on its production slate: Little House on the Prairie, Rebecca and Havana. Capital for the development and production of the shows will come from a select group of investors. GLOBAL BROADWAY’s day to day operations will be handled by Sprecher and Forlenza.

Little House on the Prairie, with a book by Rachel Sheinken (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), music by Rachel Portman (Oscar-winner for her score for the film Emma), lyrics by Donna DiNovelli and direction by Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid), will have its world premiere on August 15 at the renowned Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where it has already broken box-office records. Melissa Gilbert, beloved to audiences for her performance as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the NBC series Little House on the Prairie, stars as ‘Ma’ in the musical. A Broadway bow is planned for the 2008-09 season, with a subsequent national tour.

Rebecca, based on the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel (and later turned into an Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchcock) features book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, direction by Francesca Zambello. Rebecca had its world premiere in 2006 in Vienna, where it has played to sold-out houses and is also currently playing in Tokyo and will open in Berlin and Helsinki in the next several months. GLOBAL BROADWAY aims to open Rebecca on Broadway in the spring of 2010.

Havana, a new original musical set in the days leading up to Castro’s takeover of Cuba, features music by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde), lyrics by Jack Murphy (The Civil War) and book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz (Anna and the Tropics). Kathleen Raitt, William Franzblau and Jerry Frankel will co-produce this project. A director will be named in the coming months. Havana is planned for the fall of 2010 on Broadway.

BEN SPRECHER founded the Sprecher Organization in 1997, an independent theatrical production and general management company. He has produced Eugene O’Neil’s Moon for the Misbegotten starring Eve Best, Kevin Spacey and Colm Meaney; James Kirkwood’s comedy Legends! starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans; the Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple starring Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick; the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Fortune’s Fool starring Alan Bates and Frank Langella; Larry Gelbart’s hit Broadway comedy Sly Fox starring Richard Dreyfuss and Eric Stoltz; the Tony award winning production of Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight and the Broadway thriller Voices in the Dark. His upcoming productions are the revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo. Prior to the creation of The Sprecher Organization, Mr. Sprecher was at the center of Off-Broadway. He reconstructed and operated the Theatre de Lys (now known as the Lucille Lortel Theatre) from 1981 until 1999. In 1982, he built and began operating the Promenade Theatre which was in continuous operation until 2006. In 1992, he built and began operating the Variety Arts Theatre which was in continuous operation until 2005. With the Shubert Organization, he was integral in construction of the Little Shubert Theatre which opened in 2004 and for which he continues to be responsible for its booking and operation. His shows have received two Tony Awards, two Pulitzer prizes, eleven New York Drama Critics Awards, fourteen Outer Critic Circle Awards, five Lucille Lortel Awards and numerous Obie Awards.

LOUISE FORLENZA most recently produced last year’s acclaimed production of A Moon for the Misbegotten. Prior to that production she produced the Broadway musical Lennon celebrating the music of John Lennon. Next season she is producing the Broadway revival of both David Mamet’s American Buffalo and Stalag 17, directed by Spike Lee. Louise Forlenza has, for the past 10 years, provided audit consultancy, management advisory, and tax planning services to a diverse group of corporate clients. She serves on the Board of the publicly traded company INNODATA-ISOGEN INC and is Chairperson of the Audit Committee as well as serving on the Compensation Committee. As a real estate developer and real estate manager, she acquired the southwest corner of 42nd Street and 9th Ave in the early 80’s in anticipation of the current re-development of Theatre Row and the residential development along the 42nd Street corridor. She participates actively in various not-for-profits and philanthropic organizations including The Acting Company, the world renowned New York City based theatre organization which was created to promote arts and literacy, founded in 1972 by actor John Houseman. She serves as The Acting Company’s Treasurer. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Foundation for Gender Specific Medicine.

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