Oscar-winning film director Robert Zemeckis, famed for “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away”, among others, has announced he will be bringing his most famous property to London’s West End. “Back to the Future” will be released in Theatreland in 2015, though fans shouldn’t expect it to precisely replicate the 1985 film of the same name. Zemeckis will be directing the stage show and the story will be similar, but this version of Marty McFly’s time-travelling adventures will feature choreographed dance numbers and plenty of singing. No word yet whether Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” a classic rock song and the basis for one of the film’s most famous scenes, will be making an appearance.
Despite the success of the film and its sequels, and the name recognition that comes with “Back to the Future,” there’s no guarantee that its history will be enough to make it a contender in the West End’s already saturated landscape of renowned theatre. The theatre scene has been a popular draw for tourists and Londoners alike since Drury Lane’s Royal Theatre, the oldest theatre in all of London Town, first opened its doors in 1663. The last few years have seen record attendance and record revenues for many of Theatreland’s best venues. In 2013, attendance increased by 4%, leading to 11% revenue growth overall; the theatre district now generates a whopping £585.5 million every year.
“Back to the Future” director Robert Zemeckis isn’t leaving the success of his most famous property to chance, however. Joining Zemeckis in the directorial capacity is West End veteran Jamie Lloyd. He’ll also been helping to pen the musical. The young director’s 2010 production of “Passion” earned him a win for Best Musical from The London Evening Standard, following close behind his 2008 Olivier Award-winning “The Pride.”
For Lloyd, getting to work alongside Zemeckis isn’t just a chance to make yet another successful show for London’s famed theatre scene. He says of his new position, “I was five when I saw Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s landmark movie, and I have been a huge fan ever since. I am thrilled to be directing and co-writing this exciting new musical.”
Joining Zemeckis and Lloyd is none other than Alan Silvestri. Silvestri is arguably among the most well known composers working in Hollywood today. His career began with 1984’s Michael Douglas-led “Romancing the Stone,” but his more famous works include the scores for “Cast Away,” “Lilo & Stitch,” and, of course, all three parts of the “Back to the Future” series. With two of the original authors of the hugely successful trilogy behind the wheel, would-be critics should at least be pacified into a “wait-and-see” approach to the musical, but given the state of die-hard fandom, spurred on by the anonymity of the web, that seems unlikely.
Consider, the series not only launched Michael J. Fox’s career, it went on to spawn an exhaustive selection of merchandise and a popular five-part video game series in 2011. To say that people remain interested in the property would be to grossly understate the impact of the film. It’s going to be a hard sell at first without the comic delivery of Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and the other actors who helped make the originals such a success. If directors Robert Zemeckis and Jamie Lloyd, and Alan Silvestri in the maestro’s pulpit, want to attract long time http://www.jamielloydproductions.com/fans and the 15 million Londoners and tourists heading to the West End every year, they have to shape a story that’s thematically, visually, and musically faithful to “Back to the Future” and everything it represents. Unfortunately, we can’t take the DeLorean to 2015 to get a preview that might put fans’ minds at ease.