Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Schwartz confirms Houdini is on hold

It's frankly been a frustrating experience reporting on the big Houdini Broadway musical. First announced in 2008, I sensed the beginning of the end when Aaron Sorkin left of the project in early 2013. Then last December star Hugh Jackman backed out. Still, producer Scott Sanders issued a statement saying, "We will continue to move forward with our remarkable creative team as they craft this ambitious new musical."

Now composer Stephen Schwartz has confirmed for Vulture.com that the musical is indeed on hold. Says Schwartz:

"It's on hold for now. I think he [Jackman] didn't really understand, to be perfectly honest, how much work a brand-new musical takes. Every show he's ever done, whether it's been a musical or a straight play, has been a show that somebody else has done … When he suddenly looked at the fact that he has this other career, it just became impractical for him, frankly."

So there we go. Let's forget about this one for now. Hopefully if I ever post about it again it will be something more positive. And while I suspect the book by Sorkin is the real problem (he was an odd choice for writer, IMO), I've no doubt that the music by Schwartz is magnificent.

Might it be possible to record and release a soundtrack of just the music?


  1. To be charitable, Schwartz is being disingenuous. Jackman's professional career encompasses five shows: "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel" were revivals. "A Steady Rain" was an import from Chicago that probably required tweaking. "The Boy From Oz" and Jackman's one-man show were original. Hardly a history of "every show being done by someone else." From what I know of the production -- which is a tangential inside knowledge -- I'd say Schwartz is one of the stumbling blocks.

  2. You're probably right, Dave. I don't really buy this as THE reason for Jackman's departure and the play being put on hold. I think it's a lot of things. My own feeling is they just don't have the book right. They've gone through a few writers and Sorkin seemed a very bizarre choice for a Broadway musical -- what he delivered could have been incompatible with the music Schwartz wrote. They clearly didn't have it together and Jackman wasn't going to wait around forever. Big show. Big stars. Big money. Big expectations. Who knows what's really happening behind the scenes? Tricky business (pun intended!).