Broadway veterans Laura Michelle Kelly and Brian d’Arcy James led a staged workshop of Finding Neverland in New York City on August 26, according to The Daily Mail. The musical, produced by Harvey Weinstein, recently overhauled its entire creative team, and brought on board director Diane Paulus, composer Gary Barlow and playwright James Graham. The staged presentation was a first look at a revised production that hopes to play Boston’s American Repertory Theater (for which Paulus is the Artistic Director) in spring 2014 before playing Broadway and the West End.
In addition to Kelly (Mary Poppins) and d’Arcy James (Shrek) the workshop also starred Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and Kathleen Chalfant (Wit). The workshop retained three of the original songs composed by former songwriting team Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens).
Finding Neverland follows the story of Barrie (d’Arcy James) and his relationship with the family of widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kelly). Llewelyn Davies' children eventually became Barrie's inspiration to write Peter Pan.
Finding Neverland made its world premiere at Leicester's Curve Theatre in September 2012 after canceling its fall 2011 debut at La Jolla Playhouse. That production featured direction by Rob Ashford, musical by Frankel and Korie and a book by the film’s screenwriter Allan Knee. At the time, the show was aiming for a West End run in 2013, but after mixed reviews and backstage turmoil, the production sought a new creative team and a complete overhaul.
Paulus, a 2013 Tony Award winner, previously premiered her last two Tony-winning musical revivals (Porgy and Bess and Pippin) at A.R.T.