According to the Broadway news and entertainment site Playbill.com, Broadway vets Taylor Mac and Jason Robert Brown are teaming up to adapt John Berendt's famous Savannah-set 1994 novel, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," into a musical. The project is currently in development, with an invitation-only industry reading scheduled for May 12 and 13. Additional members of the creative team will be announced in the coming weeks.
The decision to produce a musical based on Berendt's famous novel should come as no surprise to its many fans, who have long praised its vivid descriptions of Savannah's rich culture and history. The book's success was a turning point for the city, attracting tourists from all over the world who were eager to explore its charming streets and discover its hidden gems.
The novel, which follows an antiques dealer through four trials for murdering a male prostitute in Savannah, is based on the true story of the shooting of Daniel Lewis Hansford. "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was a New York Times Best-Seller and won the 1995 Boeke Prize, as well as being a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. The story was also adapted into a 1997 film starring John Cusack and Kevin Spacey, which featured music and songs from famed Savannah son Johnny Mercer.
The musical will surely feature the array of unforgettable Savannah characters from the book, including Jim Williams, the eccentric antique dealer, and the enigmatic Lady Chablis.
The musical adaptation is being produced by Hal Luftig, Craig Haffner, and Sherry Wright. If the musical were to reach Broadway, it would mark Ashford's debut as the director of a new musical on the Main Stem.
According to Deadline.com, another news site focused on the entertainment industry, Mac is the MacArthur Fellow, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, a Tony Nominee (Best Play for Gary, A Sequel to Titus Andronicus) perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed Off Broadway production of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.
Ashford is a Tony Award, Olivier Award, Emmy Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning director and choreographer whose Broadway credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Frozen, How To Succeed In Business, Promises, Promises, Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek, John Water’s Cry Baby, Curtains, and The Wedding Singer. Film credits include choreography for Disney’s Cinderella, Beyond the Sea, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Ted 2, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. He directed the TV events Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live!