Leap of Faith, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater’s musical adaptation of the 1992 feature film starring Steve Martin, is headed to Broadway in fall 2012, according to The New York Times. Four-time Tony nominee Raul Esparza, who starred in a 2010 debut production in Los Angeles, will reprise his performance as Jonas Nightingale, an evangelical con man offered the chance at redemption. No theater or further casting has been announced.
The Times reports that a developmental reading of the show, held the week of November 7, included five new songs and a substantial rewrite of the book (co-written in L.A. by screenwriter Janus Cercone), with one character eliminated and others combined. “Our creative team has done great work in clarifying the story, making it more fun, and creating surprises in how the story is told,” producer Thomas Viertel said. The revised show is 25 minutes shorter than the L.A. production, which clocked in at two hours and 40 minutes.
In addition to Esparza, the reading featured Priscilla Queen of the Desert cast member Jessica Phillips as single mom Marva, a role created in L.A. by Addams Family star Brooke Shields. On October 4, Shields announced that she is no longer associated with Leap of Faith.
Esparza recently received an L.A. Ovation Award for his performance in Leap of Faith. A Tony nominee for Speed-the-Plow, The Homecoming, Company and Taboo, he has appeared on Broadway in Arcadia, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Rocky Horror Show and Cabaret. His off-Broadway work includes Twelfth Night, The Normal Heart, Comedians and tick,tick...BOOM! Esparza's film and TV credits include A Gifted Man, Pushing Daisies, My Soul to Take, Medium, Find Me Guilty and Law & Order.
Viertel told the Times that the Broadway capitalization of Leap of Faith will be between $10 and $15 million. Rob Ashford directed and choreographed the premiere production.