'Leap of Faith' sets April debut on Broadway
"Leap of Faith," the new musical that debuted in 2010 at the Ahmanson Theatre, will begin performances on Broadway on April 3, with an official opening set for an unspecified date later that month, organizers announced Thursday. The show, featuring songs co-written by multiple Oscar-winner Alan Menken, will play at the St. James Theatre.
Raul Esparza will return to the role that he originated in L.A. -- Jonas Nightingale, a fraudulent preacher and faith healer who is waylaid in a small Kansas town. Taking over the part originated by Brooke Shields will be Jessica Phillips, who will play Marla, the local sheriff and love interest for Jonas. Kendra Kassebaum will also return to the show as Jonas' sister.
As previously reported, Christopher Ashley will direct the Broadway production of "Leap of Faith," taking over from Rob Ashford, who staged the musical in L.A.
The musical has been revised since its debut, having received tepid reviews in L.A. Menken has tweeted about revisions to the show. 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!!"
Organizers also said in the past that they have revised the book for "Leap of Faith." The book was written by Janus Cercone and Glenn Slater. Revisions have been carried out by Cercone and Warren Leight.
Cercone wrote the screenplay for the 1992 Steve Martin movie on which the musical is based.
-- David Ng
Photo: Raul Esparza, holding Nicholas Barasch, in a scene from the L.A. production of "Leap of Faith" in 2010. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times.