From a Parisian cabaret to a Tampa strip club: That’s the trajectory that will be completed at the venerable Emerson Colonial Theatre when “Magic Mike The Musical’’ makes its world premiere Nov. 30-Jan. 5 in what is billed as a pre-Broadway tryout.
A bid to capitalize on the success of the hit 2012 film “Magic Mike,’’ the new musical will follow on the glittering heels of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,’’ another screen-to-stage adaptation that premiered at the Colonial on its way to Broadway.
“Magic Mike,’’ a beefcake extravaganza that starred Channing Tatum as Mike Lane, a semi-sensitive male stripper with entrepreneurial dreams, has already spawned a sequel and a live variety show. The stage musical takes place years before the events of the first film. It focuses on a college-aged Lane as he becomes a dancer at a nightclub, finds that he enjoys it, but still faces tough choices while trying to conceal his new career from his girlfriend and father. Tatum is among the producers of the musical, as is Steven Soderbergh, the director of “Magic Mike.’’
In a statement that accompanied Thursday’s announcement of the Colonial engagement by Tatum, Soderbergh, and the rest of the producing team, Tatum said: “When we were shooting ‘Magic Mike,’ I looked at myself in a thong and thought: ‘Well, Chan, say goodbye to your career!’ So the idea that seven years later a Pulitzer Prize-winning creative team would be making a full-fledged musical prequel is definitive proof that God loves strippers. I couldn’t be more excited about the next chapter in the Magic Mike story. So get ready, Boston. The road to Broadway begins on November 30!’’
The Pulitzers in question were won by the duo who are writing the score for “Magic Mike The Musical’’: lyricist Brian Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt. Their collaboration on “Next to Normal’’ earned them the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010 as well as the Tony Award for best original musical score in 2009. More recently, Yorkey and Kitt teamed up for the Idina Menzel-starring “If/Then’’ (2015).
An array of seasoned Broadway veterans make up the rest of the creative team in “Magic Mike The Musical.’’ It will be directed by Trip Cullman, with choreography by Camille A. Brown. Cullman is currently at the helm of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy’’ on Broadway (choreographed by Brown) and last year directed Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero,’’ starring Michael Cera and Chris Evans. The book for “Magic Mike The Musical’’ has been penned by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who worked on the short-lived 2016 musical adaptation of “American Psycho,’’ helped overhaul the notoriously calamitous “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,’’ and created “Riverdale’’ for the CW network.
Casting for the musical and its “future Broadway plans’’ will be announced at a later date, according to the announcement. Tickets for the Boston engagement are now on sale.
The original “Magic Mike’’ film was inspired by Tatum’s own experience working in a Florida strip club when he was 18, according to newspaper and magazine accounts. Tatum went on to star in the 2015 sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,’’ then created “Magic Mike Live,’’ which has been performed in Las Vegas and London.
The Colonial is operated by Ambassador Theatre Group under a long-term lease with its owner, Emerson College. For ATG, “Magic Mike The Musical’’ represents another step in its closely-watched attempt to make good on a promise to restore the storied Boylston Street venue to its former longtime role as a pre-Broadway tryout venue. The first step in that direction was “Moulin Rouge!,’’ which reopened the Colonial in July 2018 after the theater had been closed for three years due to renovations. “Moulin Rouge!’’ is scheduled to begin performances in late June in New York, featuring the same cast as in the Boston production, including Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, and Danny Burstein.
Erica Lynn Schwartz, general manager of the Colonial for ATG, noted in a statement that ATG had “made a commitment to reviving the city’s pre-Broadway tradition in the new chapter of this historic building,’’ adding: “There is such enthusiasm in our community for pre-Broadway works.’’
The Colonial has seen a lot over the course of its storied history. After opening in 1900 with a production of “Ben-Hur’’ that featured eight live horses onstage for the chariot race scene, the theater went on to host pre-Broadway tryouts of many shows that became landmarks of the 20th century, including “Oklahoma!’’ (then called “Away We Go’’), “Annie Get Your Gun,’’ “Carousel,’’ “Born Yesterday,’’ “Anything Goes,’’ “Follies,’’ and “La Cage aux Folles.’’
From Ben-Hur to Magic Mike: Ah, life in the theater.Don Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@GlobeAucoin