'Baby It's You!' heads to Pasadena Playhouse, eyes Broadway
"Baby It's You!" -- the new jukebox musical about the rise of recording producer Florence Greenberg -- is heading to the Pasadena Playhouse this fall with an eye to a hopeful run on Broadway as early as spring, according to producers.
The musical, which has had two workshop runs at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood, represents the combined efforts of three producers and two corporate giants -- Universal Music Group and Warner Bros., both of which are investing money in the show.
The Pasadena production is scheduled to officially open Nov. 13 and run through Dec. 13. It will occupy the final slot in the Playhouse's 2009 season, replacing the previously announced production of "Laughing Matters." The cast has not been announced.
"Baby It's You!" tells the true story of Greenberg, who left her suburban New Jersey existence to become a hugely successful music producer in the '60's, partnering with songwriter Luther Dixon. Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, the musical contains a number of well-known songs from albums like "Tonight's the Night," "He's So Fine," "Soldier Boy" and, of course, "Baby It's You!" (Mutrux is pulling double duty as the director of the show.)
Clearing rights to those songs has been a challenge, according to Oscar-winner Jonathan Sanger, one of the show's producers. "It was tricky," he said. "Many of the songs have different rights holders and we had to track them down."
Sanger said he had interest from the Geffen Playhouse to produce the show, but scheduling couldn't be worked out.
"Baby It's You" represents the first time that Universal Music Group has been involved with a stage musical. The show came to the attention of the group's president, Zach Horowitz, during one of its workshop runs at the Coast Playhouse.
"We don't need to go into the woes of the record business. We're always looking for new opportunities," said Polly Anthony, who works at Universal Music Group on film and television projects.
She said that Universal Music Group has been involved with the development of the book of the musical and will actively participate in the cast album. The company is also helping producers clear rights to "one or two" additional songs.
The other producing partner is Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, which is the live stage play division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
"Baby It's You!" had workshop runs at the Coast Playhouse in the fall of 2008 and another this summer that closed on Aug. 30. Producers say they are bringing in more designers to adapt the show to the Pasadena Playhouse stage. They estimate the Pasadena run to cost as much as $1 million.
The Pasadena run represents a step toward the producers' ultimate goal of seeing the show on Broadway. Though no dates or theaters have been announced, the show's producers say they are currently scouting possibilities in New York.
-- David Ng
Credit: Coast Playhouse