Kathleen Marshall Will Direct New Musical Based on Life of Frank Sinatra | Playbill

Industry News Kathleen Marshall Will Direct New Musical Based on Life of Frank Sinatra

Joe DiPietro is penning the book for Sinatra the Musical.

Kathleen Marshall, Frank Sinatra, and Joe DiPietro

Olivier winner and three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall (Wonderful Town, The Pajama Game, Anything Goes) will direct and choreograph a new musical about the life and career of the late veteran crooner and actor Frank Sinatra.

The script is being written by two-time Tony winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Diana).

The musical is set on New Year's Eve 1942 as a 27-year-old Italian-American singer is about to step onto the stage of New York's Paramount Theatre. As Sinatra's career skyrockets, he struggles with balancing the love of his wife, Nancy, against the demands and temptations of his career. When he begins an affair with Ava Gardner, his records stop selling and the press turns against him, but one of the greatest comebacks in showbiz will follow.

Michele Anthony, Bruce Resnikoff, and Scott Landis will serve as producers for Universal Music Group Theatrical, with Tina Sinatra and Charles Pignone serving as producers on behalf of Frank Sinatra Enterprises.

Tina Sinatra says, “I’m excited to work with Universal Music Theatrical on this stage production that we believe will bring audiences new perspectives and insights into my father’s renowned music and his enduring legacy.”

Michele Anthony, executive vice president of Universal Music Group, adds, “Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest icons of the 20th century. We’re thrilled to work with Tina to produce this show that will be a continued evolution of Frank Sinatra’s boundless cultural influence.”

A performance timetable has not been announced.

An American icon, both as a singer and, later, as a movie actor, Sinatra never performed on Broadway, but starred in Hollywood film adaptations of four classic musicals: Guys and Dolls, On the Town, Pal Joey, and Can-Can. He appeared in many non-Broadway musicals as well, including Anchors Aweigh, Reveille With Beverly, and Robin and the Seven Hoods. Among non-musicals, Sinatra starred in the film of Neil Simon's first Broadway play, Come Blow Your Horn. His late-career hit "New York, New York" was written for a film of the same name (receiving a stage adaptation on Broadway later this season) by the Chicago and Cabaret team of John Kander and Fred Ebb.

During the time in the 1940s-1960s when show tunes and Top 40 were virtually identical, Sinatra recorded dozens of them, some several times. Cole Porter songs were a favorite, but he returned again and again to the works of Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cy Coleman, among many others.

Even after rock pushed showtunes out of the Top 40, Sinatra continued to record them, laying down tracks of Jerry Herman's "I Won't Send Roses" and Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," "Good Thing Going," and "Old Friend" in the 1970s and '80s.

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