EXCLUSIVE: Playwright Theresa Rebeck, who created the stage musical-themed NBC series Smash, has joined the real-life Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the 1988 film comedy Working Girl, producers announced today.
Rebeck will write the book of the musical, said producers Robyn Goodman and Josh Fiedler of Aged In Wood Productions and Kumiko Yoshii.
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While Rebeck has had four plays produced on Broadway (Bernhardt/Hamlet, Dead Accounts, Seminar, Mauritius), Working Girl would mark her Broadway debut as a book writer for a musical. As previously announced, Cyndi Lauper is writing the music and lyrics, and Christopher Ashley will direct.
“Smash ignited my love of musical theater and I’ve been eager to find the right musical project since then,” Rebeck said in a statement. “I couldn’t have dreamed up a better fit than Working Girl, or better collaborators than Cyndi, Chris and this team. I can’t wait for audiences to discover how we’ve reimagined this beloved classic.”
The film starred Melanie Griffith as a secretary from Staten Island who takes over her boss’s position while the boss (Sigourney Weaver) is off work with a broken leg. After pitching a successful merger idea, Griffith’s character watches as the scheming boss takes credit.
Producer Goodman said, “Since producing Theresa’s early hit play Spike Heels in 1990 at Second Stage, I have remained a true fan. Her humor, intelligence and commitment to feminism, make her the perfect playwright for this story. She and Cyndi Lauper are our dream team of modern-day passionate and talented working women. “
Said Lauper: “I’ve been a fan of Theresa’s for a long time, and I’m so excited to be working with her on this project. It was really important to me and the rest of the team to have a female book writer, to really get in the heads of our characters, and Theresa is the perfect person for the job.”
Working Girl is based on the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture written by Kevin Wade and is presented by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical. Directed by Mike Nichols, Working Girl premiered in 1988 and received the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. In addition to Griffith, the film starred Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Oliver Platt, Jeffrey Nordling, and David Duchovny, and grossed more than $100 million worldwide.
In addition to her Broadway credits, Rebeck has written extensively for Off Broadway theaters, her works including Seared, Downstairs, The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, Spike Heels, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, Our House, The Understudy and View of the Dome.
Her 2003 play Omnium Gatherum, co-written with Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, was one of three finalists for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Her latest play, Mad House, is currently playing a critically acclaimed world premiere on London’s West End starring David Harbour and Bill Pullman.
For television, Rebeck, in addition to creating Smash, has written for LA Law, NYPD Blue, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, among many others. Feature film credits include 355, Trouble, and Harriet the Spy, among others.
Production dates and casting information have not been announced for Working Girl.
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