Great Scott! Just in time for its 30th birthday, Back To The Future is coming to the stage as a musical. BTTF.com reports than director Robert Zemeckis and his co-writer Bob Gale have been working with Universal Stage Productions on the project on the hush-hush and will unveil it on the London stage next year. Broadway, all being well, will follow at a later date.
No word on exactly what’s involved – given that it’s 2015, they could do a lot worse than consult Biff and his almanac – but Gale is promising to avoid retreading old storylines. “The Back To The Future Musical is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost ten years,” he explains. “We're thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake.
"We know the integrity of the material will be preserved in a production that will be a wonderful companion to the Trilogy. We intend to use music from the movie along with brand new songs to make a version of Back To The Future that is fresh, entertaining, and takes advantage of all the amazing things that can now be done on stage. We can't think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film."
And that music? Expect all your favourite Huey Lewis & The News tunes, new songs from Back To The Future Part II and III composer Alan Silvestri in cahoots with songwriter Glen Ballard, and probably a little Chuck Berry thrown in for good measure.
Broadway impresario Donovan Mannato, who musicalised Ghost with very decent results, will be overseeing the project as producer, while Brit Jamie Lloyd (no relation) will direct. His fellow Donmar Theatre veteran, production designer Soutra Gilmour, is in charge of recreating Hill Valley on the West End stage.
“Rather than attempt to recreate such an iconic movie on stage, we have assembled a brilliant artistic team to discover a unique theatrical language to take audiences on a journey through time in a vibrant, unexpected way,” says Lloyd. “The production will include illusions, skateboarding and many other surprises that will capture the spirit of the film but freshly interpret it for a new audience. Steven Spielberg once described the film as a musical and whilst we are incorporating some of the original, exhilarating score and songs, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's witty, infectious and heartfelt new songs are the perfect springboard to tell this uplifting story anew."
With Zemeckis and Gale so integrally involved, fans should have nothing to fear. They’ve even hired a skateboard consultant. Maybe we will get a hoverboard next year after all!