Having played a significant role in the delivery of three of the most high profile musical feature films in recent years – namely Dreamgirls, Chicago, and the upcoming Beauty And The Beast – writer-director Bill Condon is now preparing to bring the big screen to Broadway, by signing on with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures to develop a stage production of A Star Is Born.
Condon’s pedigree brings a great deal of weight to this news. The Academy Award winner wrote the screenplays for Dreamgirls and Chicago – both of which were highly successful screen adaptations of hit Broadway musicals. He directed Dreamgirls himself, and returns to the feature film musical genre this year with Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast. In between, he sharpened his skill-set on a number of dramatic projects – such as The Twilight Saga and The Fifth Estate – before making his Broadway directorial debut in 2014 with Side Show. A Star Is Born will represent his triumphant return to stage work, riding the inevitable wave of Beauty And The Beast success.
A Star Is Born is an interesting choice, however, as it comes at the same time as a long-gestating feature film version, to be written and directed by Bradley Cooper. This sudden resurgence in interest in the classic tale of a Hollywood starlet being mentored by an aging, alcoholic movie star is not unprecedented. The original 1937 film, starring Janet Gaynor and Frederic March has been remade many times over – but this new stage interpretation will be specifically based upon the 1954 version, which starred Judy Garland and James Mason. It will, apparently, bear no connection to the Bradley Cooper film at all.
Basing the stage production on the 1954 version means that the score will feature iconic songs by Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen – making this project a real celebration of that particular film. The Bradley Cooper feature film version, on the other hand, will include music developed by Lady Gaga, who will also appear in the leading role. Despite the fact that these two projects are entirely separate entities, taking entirely different forms, it is safe to say that between them they will make 2018 the year that A Star Is Born.