Where do you go after rebooting Star Trek and breathing new life into the dormant Star Wars universe? To Broadway.
J.J. Abrams will undertake his first venture as a theater producer with the New York transfer early next year of The Play That Goes Wrong, an Olivier Award-winning hit comedy now in its third year in London's West End.
"I have been a fan of theater all my life," Abrams said Monday in a statement. "Embarrassingly, I still have every Playbill, from the very first show my grandmother took me to. When I saw The Play That Goes Wrong on the West End, I hadn't laughed that hard - seen something as preposterously absurd or wonderfully hilarious - in ages."
The brainchild of Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, the intricately plotted physical comedy revolves around the Comley Polytechnic Dramatic Society's efforts to stage a 1920s murder mystery as accident-prone actors battle against all odds to make it to the final curtain call.
The show drew rave reviews in London, with The New York Times calling it "a gut-busting hit" and The Independent dubbing it "exquisitely choreographed mayhem."
The play is a remarkable success for Mischief Theatre, which was founded by a group of college friends in 2008 and began as an improvised comedy troupe. The company now has three shows running in the West End, while The Play That Goes Wrong has been licensed to 29 countries to date.
The project brings Abrams together with Tony-winning lead producer Kevin McCollum, whose extensive Broadway credits include Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights, Rent, Avenue Q, The Drowsy Chaperone, Motown: The Musical and Something Rotten!, which winds up its two-year run at the St. James Theatre in January.
Rounding out the producing team is Kenny Wax, Stage Presence and Catherine Schreiber.
Along with Lewis, Sayer and Shields, the original West End cast transferring to Broadway will include Matthew Cavendish, Bryony Corrigan, Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Charlie Russell, Greg Tannahill and Nancy Zamit.
Directed by Mark Bell, The Play That Goes Wrong will begin previews March 9 at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, with an official opening scheduled for April 2.