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'Leap of Faith' adds Christopher Ashley as director for Broadway

December 13, 2011 | 12:56 pm

Leapoffaith

The road to Broadway is long and arduous for most new musicals. But for "Leap of Faith," the screen-to-stage adaptation that debuted in Los Angeles last year, the road to New York seems to be especially challenging and bumpy.

Organizers announced Tuesday that Christopher Ashley had been hired to direct "Leap of Faith" when it arrives on Broadway some time in the fall of 2012. The musical will be choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. The pair replaces Rob Ashford, who directed and choreographed the musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2010.

Ashley currently serves as artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse. He has a number of Broadway credits to his name, including the musicals "Memphis" and "Xanadu."

Organizers also said they are revising the book for "Leap of Faith." The book was written by Janus Cercone and Glenn Slater. Revisions will be carried out by Cercone and Warren Leight. (Cercone wrote the screenplay for the 1992 Steve Martin movie on which the musical is based.)

The score is by multiple Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken. Recent reports of readings in New York stated that the re-tooled show features some new music and has been condensed, with certain characters eliminated or combined.

Menken has tweeted recently about revisions to the musical. In one tweet dated Nov. 11, the composer wrote: "LEAP OF FAITH readings went so well! Hard to believe, but I think we've fixed this musical, after all these many years of work. Happiness!!"

"Leap of Faith" opened in 2010 at the Ahmanson to tepid reviews. Times critic Charles McNulty described the show as "erratic and somewhat overeager." The musical, which tells the story of a fraudulent faith healer who arrives in a small Kansas town, had been in development for years, with director Taylor Hackford attached to the project at one point.

Raul Esparza will reprise his lead role in the Broadway run, but Brooke Shields, who appeared in the L.A. staging as his romantic interest, has left the production.

No concrete dates or theater have been announced for the Broadway run of "Leap of Faith."

RELATED:

'Leap of Faith' sets out on the road to Broadway

Theater review: 'Leap of Faith' at the Ahmanson Theatre

-- David Ng

Photo: Raul Esparza in the 2010 production of "Leap of Faith" at the Ahmanson. Credit: Craig Schwartz / Associated Press

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