Theatre Calgary has announced that it will present the international premiere production of Beaches The Musical, based on the much-loved novel and movie, with Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mike Stoller joining the musical’s creative team as composer.
Beaches the Musical features a book by Iris Rainer Dart, based on her best-selling novel, & Thom Thomas, with lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart, and developed in collaboration with David Austin.
The production will be directed by Tony Award Nominee Lonny Price (Sunset Boulevard, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill), and co-directed by Matt Cowart, with Joseph Thalken as Music Supervisor.
The show starts on 18 May 2024, with a 24 May opening night, and runs until 16 June 2024 in the Arts Commons Max Bell Theatre in Calgary.
The full cast and creative team for Beaches the Musical will be announced at a later date.
Mike Stollen is a legendary composer, and one half of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller songwriting partnership, that saw the pair write a succession of popular songs including Elvis Presely hits “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog”.
A number of previous developmental productions of Beaches have taken place at The Signature Theatre in Washington, DC and The Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. Beaches the Musical will be having a NYC Industry reading in October 2023.
Beaches was made into a blockbuster film 1988 starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, and follows two extraordinary friends through 30 years of camaraderie, laughter, sorrow, and love. Vivacious, outlandish Cee Cee and beautiful, privileged Bertie meet as children and become fast friends. From pen-pals to roommates to romantic rivals, Cee Cee and Bertie’s oil-and-water friendship perseveres through even the most tragic trials. With a touching vulnerability, Beaches exemplifies the triumph of the human spirit and the bonds of sisterhood.
The show is produced by Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Stafford Arima (Allegiance, Broadway; Carrie, Off-Broadway revival; Ragtime – West End premiere; Altar Boyz, Off-Broadway), along with Jennifer Maloney-Prezioso (Tony & Emmy Award winner: Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, Rock of Ages, Broadway), Douglas McJannet for Arden Entertainment, JAS Theatricals and Alison Spiriti for Right Angle Entertainment.
What they said
Composer Mike Stoller said in a press statement: “I was delighted to get a phone call from Iris asking if I would write the music for the musical Beaches. Working with Iris is always a happy process full of laughs, and collaborating with Iris, Joe, Jenn, and Lonny on this terrific project has been a joy!”.
He went on to say: “I’ve never been to Calgary, but I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing and working with Stafford Arima. How lucky can a guy get? – I’m writing a musical with the wonderful Iris Dart, who I love to write songs with. Our show, “Beaches” (based on Iris’novel) is being directed by the fabulous Lonny Price (who I met and worked with decades ago) and co-directed by Matt Cowart. The producers, Jennifer Maloney-Prezioso and Douglas McJannet have assembled this dream team, and now I’m going to get to see Calgary and my dear friend, Stafford Arima.”
Theatre Calgary Artistic Director Stafford Arima said: “I remember the movie’Beaches’ like it was yesterday. I first saw it when I was 18 years old. Now 35 years later, the brilliant Iris Dart, who wrote the original novel, has teamed up with the legendary songwriter, Mike Stoller to reimagine this timeless tale of friendship as a musical. I am honored and thrilled that this new production of Beaches, directed by Lonny Price and Matt Cowart, will have its international premiere at Theatre Calgary.”
Beaches writer Iris Rainer Dart, who has also written the book and lyrics for the musicals, said: “Not long ago I visited the beautiful Theatre Calgary and fell in love with the theater, the energy of the team, and Stafford Arima’s joy and enthusiasm in presenting plays andmusicals to the community. Remarkably, it was my old friend Stafford’s idea, many years ago, that I turn Beaches into a musical. The team of co-directors Lonny Price and Matt Cowart and our producers Jennifer Maloney-Prezioso and Douglas McJannet have brought Mike Stoller and me along with many laughs, and just the right kind of loving guidance to get us to this important version of our musical. We can’t wait to share it with all ofyou.”
Director Lonny Price said: “Having previously directed ‘The Louder We Get’ at Theatre Calgary, Matt Cowart (co-director) and I are thrilled to continue our wonderful working relationship with Artistic Director, Stafford Arima, returning with another brand new musical, Beaches! Based on the novel, which was made into the blockbuster film, Beaches is a story that celebrates the ups and downs, the triumphs and tribulations of the thirty-five year friendship in the lives of Cee Cee and Bertie. (In the film, Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.). We defy anyone to walk away unmoved by IrisDart’s hilarious and touching book, as well as her lyrics to legendary composer Mike Stoller’s exhilarating new score. If we sound very excited about it — we are!”
Producer Jennifer Maloney-Prezioso said: “It is one of the greatest pleasures of my career to bring Beaches the Musical to the stage and to have our international premiere at Theatre Calgary. Working with the impeccable Stafford Arima and the Theatre Calgary team has been a joy for my partner Douglas McJannet and me, and anytime Director Lonny Price and Co-Director Matt Cowart are leading the team, the audience is in the best hands possible. With Iris Rainer Dart and Thom Thomas’ beautiful book tapping into the unique bonds of friendship and the timeless score that Iris and legendary composer Mike Stoller have created, best friends around the world will fall in love with Cee Cee and Bertie, for the first time or for the hundredth time. At its core, Beaches is a love story about friendship… come fall in love!”