It seems practically every major film gets a Broadway musical eventually. For every long-running success story like Hairspray, there’s a dozen more that have fallen into the dustbins of history. 9 to 5, Saturday Night Fever, Beetlejuice. Heck, even Silence of the Lambs has a musical. And yet somehow, Steven Spielberg’s iconic breakthrough film Jaws wasn’t one of them. Until now, that is.
According to Deadline, a musical based on the first summer blockbuster has set its premiere in Seattle next May. Only it’s not called Jaws! The Musical. It’s called Bruce, named for the model shark that caused much drama for the film’s production. So this won’t be a musical retelling of the film. And sadly, no epic number for “Show Me the Way to Go Home.” Instead, it’s based on Jaws screenwriter Carl Gottlieb’s 1975 memoir The Jaws Log, which told the story of the film’s troubled production. It was one of the first movie behind-the-scenes bestsellers.
Richard Oberacker is composing the music, with book and lyrics by Oberacker and Robert Taylor. The duo previously collaborated on the musical Bandstand. Bruce tells the story of a young and unknown director named Steven Spielberg. You might have heard of him. Back in 1974, he could barely keep his head above water (so to speak) filming the much-anticipated adaptation of the novel Jaws. Luckily, it all worked out. You can read the official description for the upcoming show right here:
“While invading a sleepy fishing island off Cape Cod to shoot on the open ocean, he [Spielberg] faced several challenges including weather, water, hostile locals, an exploding budget, endless delays, and a highly dysfunctional mechanical star named Bruce. All in order to bring his vision to life in what proved to be one of the biggest success stories in film history.” That description actually has us pretty sold. At least it’s not the Mayor singing about keeping the beaches open.
Bruce starts previews at Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theater on May 27, 2022. It currently has an opening night set for June 1 of next year. The engagement will run through June 26, 2022. After that, reviews and ticket sales will determine if Bruce will swim across the country to the Great White Way. Or if it ends up another notorious musical flop like Carrie: The Musical. Now, when is someone brave going to attempt The Exorcist musical? That one has to be next, right?