Troubled Producer Garth Drabinsky Rising Again with New Musical

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Garth Drabinsky, the former head of Livent who served three years in a Canadian jail for fraud, is developing the new musical Madame Sousatzka based on the 1988 film starring Shirley MacLaine.

It will likely arrive at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre in late 2016 or early 2017, according to the Toronto Star.

Drabinsky and Livent are known for a slate of lavish Broadway productions including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Show Boat, Candide, Fosse andParade.

New York is the ultimate goal, though London is also a potential stop. Because of his indictment in the States, Drabinsky will need to find an American producer to shepherd the work to Broadway.


The musical features a score by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, whose Broadway credits include Baby and Big as well as the Off-Broadway revuesStarting Here, Starting Now and Closer Than Ever.

The Toronto workshop ran June 7-July 17, according to a casting notice for the production.

Madame Sousatzka has a book by Craig Lucas. It is directed by Adrian Noble, with choreography by Graciela Daniele and associate choreographer Maddie Kelly. Also on the creative team are David Caddick and Kristen Blodgette as music supervisors and music director Brad Haak.

Tony winner Victoria Clark, most recently on Broadway in a Tony-nominated performance in the revival of Gigi, is taking part in a Toronto workshop of a new musical based on the 1988 film Madame Sousatzka, according to the New York Post.

Clark, who is also making her New York Musical Festival directorial debut with Newton’s Cradle, is cast in the title role of the Russian piano player, the part created on film by MacLaine, who won a Golden Globe for her performance. Clark is joined in the workshop by Memphis Tony nominee Montego Gloverand Tony nominee Tsidii Le Loka, who originated the role of Rafiki in The Lion King.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and John Schlesinger penned the screenplay for Madame Sousatzka based on the novel by Bernice Rubens.