Dear Producers: Please Donâ€™t F**k Up â€œThe First Wives Clubâ€ Musical
February 14, 2015 â— by Evan Ross Katz
Letâ€™s straightaway kibosh any fever dream that the musical would feature the filmâ€™s stars: Midlerâ€™s got a new album and a UK tour. Keatonâ€™s busy recording her part in Disney/Pixarâ€™s Finding Dory. And Hawn? Sheâ€™s puffing cigarettes with Melanie Griffith. This version stars Tony winner Faith Prince, Christine Sherrill and Carmen Cusack.
Based on the best-selling novel by Olivia Goldsmith, both the movie and the stage musical follow three college friends who reconnect years later at a funeral and decide to reclaim their lives and take revenge on their philandering ex-husbands.
The new iterationâ€”set to bow at Chicagoâ€™s Oriental Theater on February 17 before a planned debut in New Yorkâ€”is being directed by Simon Philips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) with a book by Designing Women creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and music by Motown songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.
While movie-based musicals have had varying degrees of successâ€”Once and Billy Elliot were hits; 9 to 5 and Rocky, not so muchâ€”First Wives Club seems like a natural fit, what with itâ€™s over-the-top trio literally bursting into song by the filmâ€™s close.
Still, itâ€™s been nearly 20 years since the film, thereâ€™s still the foul odor of the 2009 version, and its taken another six years to get this production on any stage, so pardon us for remaining slightly skeptical.
While the casting of Broadway legend Prince (Guys and Dolls) does give us hope, the lack of a big marquee name (Ã la Allison Janney in 9 to 5) is worrying. Also: why isnâ€™t Elise blonde? Itâ€™s supposed to be a blonde, a brunette, and a â€œredhead.â€
Producers, to borrow a phrase from RuPaul, please donâ€™t f**k it up!