Can Steven Spielberg *Save Broadway?


Hot on the heels of this summer’s announcement that Hairspray composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are adapting Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can for Broadway, Variety reports that DreamWorks TV and Showtime are “in the early stages of developing a scripted series that will chronicle the development of an original Broadway musical, from its creative inception through its opening night.” So it will be a TV show about putting together a fictional Broadway show that will then become a real Broadway show.

The ambitious project will represent a logistical challenge as scripts and production of the TV series are juggled along with the development of tunes to be featured in the show and eventually on the stage. The hope is that the series would run for multiple seasons, possibly focusing on new productions or fresh iterations of the original tuner.

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but doesn’t it seem like new shows (and we’re talking both TV and theater here) have enough of a challenge appealing to audiences without compounding things? It seems risky to launch a project whose overall success depends on viewers caring about both.

That said, we could imagine something like this working if someone like Christopher Guest was involved. And while Spielberg’s TV projects have been varied (from Tiny Toons to Showtime’s The United States of Tara), the man rarely fails. What do you think?

* Not that Broadway necessarily needs saving.