Producer David Shor, who is developing Sleepless in Seattle:The Musical for Broadway, announced today that Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin, and Josh Nelson will collaborate on the music and lyrics for the show. The musical is aiming for a Broadway bow on Valentine's Day, 2011.
Shor acquired the rights to produce the musical based on the hit 1993 TriStar motion picture. Jeff Arch, Shor's longtime business partner, who penned the film's original story and co-wrote the screenplay, sharing 1994 Oscar, BAFTA and WGA nominations with Nora Ephron and David Ward, has written the book for the musical and Joel Zwick (George Gershwin Alone, Dance With Me, Shenandoah, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") will direct.
Shor found clips on YouTube of Michelle Citrin singing the song "20 Things To Do With Matzah" (http://www.youtube.com/watch#playnext=1&playnext_from=TL&videos=GeID-dCTsK8&v=xMSEFCQCKPo) and began sending it to friends for a holiday greeting. He then began corresponding with her via Facebook and eventually brought her on as part of the writing team. Michelle brought in her colleague Josh Nelson and playwright Arch brought in his friend Michael Garin, a classmate of his from Emerson College. Sleepless In Seattle -The Musical will mark the first collaboration of Citrin, Garin, and Nelson.
"We are thrilled to have Michelle, Michael, and Josh onboard to make this timeless musical sing in a contemporary, exciting way," said producer Shor. "The process that we went through to find our writing team is unique to say the least. We are glad we found them and are thrilled with the results of their collaboration. Who knew that Facebook and YouTube would break the mold to discover new voices for the theater?"
"Nothing was more important than getting the sound we wanted," said book writer Arch. "If it came from people with household names and multiple Tony awards, that would have been welcome too - but these three are the ones who brought it home. I've known Michael for almost 40 years and was a huge 'Song of Singapore' fan - to work together on a Broadway musical with him is a rare and unexpected treat. And Michelle and Josh came straight from wish-list heaven - I'm in awe of what they've been turning out. The music for this show is in the best possible hands."
Sleepless in Seattle centers around Sam, a widower and single father. When Sam's son, Jonah calls into a talk radio program looking for a new mother, Sam ends up getting on the phone and laments about his lost love. Thousands of miles away, Annie hears the program and immediately falls in love with Sam, despite the fact that she has never met him and that she is engaged to another man. Believing they are meant to be together, Annie sets out for Seattle to meet Sam, who, meanwhile, contends with an onslaught of letters from available women equally touched by his phone call.
The American Film Institute (AFI) lists Sleepless in Seattle among the Top 10 best romantic comedies of all time and the film grossed over 227 million dollars worldwide. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, four MTV Movie Awards, one Writers Guild of America Award, and won an American Comedy Award and a Casting Society of America Award. Sleepless In Seattle is based on the 1957 film "An Affair To Remember" starring Cary Grant ad Deborah Kerr.
MICHELLE CITRIN (Music/Lyrics)
Michelle is the co-creator, writer, and star of YouTube sensations, "Rosh Hashanah Girl", "20 Things to do with Matzah" and "Pass the Candle" which to date, has received millions of hits, ranking in the top 20 most viewed music videos on YouTube in 2008, and have been featured on Good Morning America, Yahoo.com, CBS Evening News as well as The New York Times.
Michelle is best known for writing award winning adult contemporary pop songs that the press calls, "reflective of all of our lives". Her honest lyrics, catchy melodies mixed with lush arrangements are best represented in her upcoming album, "Left Brained Right Hearted" - a collection of songs written, composed and arranged by Michelle that explore the eternal struggle of heart versus head, through insightful songwriting and unique orchestrations featuring an eclectic array of instruments like strings, glockenspiel, and cavaqunho (Brazilian guitar) played by A-list musicians like Producer Tim Bright (Lisa Loeb, Private Practice,) drummer Doug Yowell (Spring Awakening, Suzanne Vega), bassist Joe Quigley (Mamma Mia, Lisa Loeb), keyboardist John Deley (Dido).
Fully independent from any record label, Michelle has sold thousands of copies of her records. Her engaging live performances and songwriting have garnered rave reviews and numerous accolades; including being named one of Billboard Music's "Top Songwriters", VH-1's Song of the Year finalist, Great American Songwriting Honor, and finalist in Sony Music's Future Rock Competition. Extensive international touring has resulted in a rapidly growing, devoted grassroots fan base. She has shared the stage with Grammy Award winning artists Michelle Branch and Dave Koz, Gold selling artist Matisyahu, and Tracy Bonham.
Michelle has performed her songs on Austin Music Television Network and PBS and her original compositions are featured on the soundtracks of films and TV, including NYC Film Festival best picture, "Wasteland". Most recently, Michelle lent her vocals to the chart topping Vandit records release dance hit, "Turn it On" which is played by DJs around the world. From trance to folk pop, Michelle Citrin emerges as a versatile singer/songwriter from the ever growing hip indie Brooklyn music scene.
Michael Garin (Music / Lyrics)
Chances are you're already familiar with Michael Garin without quite realizing it: He co-wrote and co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit musical Song of Singapore, winning awards for his work from both Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk. He also wrote music for those goofy shows produced by the delightfully offbeat Adobe Theatre Company, including Duet! and The Handless Maiden. And if you've spent any time in New York City after 9:00 p.m. in the last two decades, you've probably heard him playing piano and singing both standards and original songs five or six nights a week in such legendary boîtes as The Monkey Bar, The Rainbow Room, Café Feenjon, the notorious VIP Room at Limelight (where he performed for and with such luminaries as Frank Zappa, James Chance, David Lee Roth, and Kool & the Gang), and, currently, Elaine's. He has been hailed in the press as "a virtuoso musical wit" (Stephen Holden, The New York Times) who "presides over the best party in town" (David Finkle, The Village Voice). Through his years of breaking up fistfights, facilitating romance, and serenading audiences in a dozen languages, Michael has developed his own unique style of entertainment, playing the audience as well as he plays the piano. Whether singing Cole Porter, Porter Wagoner, or a wonderfully bizarre original song, the goal of Michael's work is to enrich people through the controversial method of showing them a good time.
Michael's other credits range from running the Cabaret and writing original music for the Williamstown Theatre Festival (where he accompanied Elaine Stritch, Blythe Danner, and Nathan Lane, to name a few) to emceeing (as "Max Berman") the infamous and trendsetting underground burlesque shows produced by Dutch Weismann. He was photographed backstage at that gig by Ellen von Unwerth for a spread in L'Uomo Vogue, which later became the artwork for his first CD. Michael was featured in Spike Lee's video for Anita Baker's "No One In the World," and Spike Lee tapped him again for the pivotal role of "racial epithet-shouting voiceover guy" in his film Do the Right Thing. His two CDs, The Song of the Alpha Male (with those Ellen von Unwerth photographs) and Tulsa Is Just A Slut Spelled Backwards, are available at www.cdbaby.com.
With Song of Singapore co-creators Robert Hipkens and Erik Frandsen, Michael is currently developing the '60s cult film comedy John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! for the musical stage. Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty has written the book based on his novel and screenplay.
JOSH NELSON (Music / Lyrics)
A composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Josh Nelson's compositions and arrangements have been performed in major venues around the world. Nelson brings an unusually diverse
musical background to his work, resulting in a unique style built upon an extraordinary musicality and wide-ranging sensibility.
Classically trained as a conductor, vocalist, pianist and double-bassist, Nelson is also a studio-caliber guitarist, percussionist, accordionist and recording engineer. He has composed music for film, theatre, and the concert hall, and is celebrated for his distinctive and often surprising arranging style.
Josh has released five CDs of original music, and has produced dozens of albums for other artists. In addition to an intense international touring schedule, Josh is highly sought after as a clinician and music director for major conventions and conferences. Previously, Josh served as Director of Jazz Ensembles at Boston University, where he is currently a candidate for a doctoral degree in music.
Joel Zwick (Director)
Mr. Zwick directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert, with Bill Cosby, and Elvis Has Left the Building, starring John Corbett and Kim Basinger. Recognized as a prolific director of episodic television, Zwick has directed more than 525 episodes, including 21 pilots which have gone on to become regular series. His television credits include "Laverne & Shirley," "Mork & Mindy," "Bosom Buddies," "Full House," "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper," "Family Matters" and, most recently, "Two and a Half Men." In addition to directing the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre, his New York stage productions have included the Tony-nominated Dance With Me, Shenandoah, Oklahoma and Cold Storage, also directing off-Broadway and productions in Chicago, Las Vegas and London.
Jeff Arch (Book Writer)
Jeff Arch was a high school English teacher and martial arts school owner when his spec script for "SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE" sold in 1990. Nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes, the screenplay also received nominations from the Writers Guild and BAFTA, among others. Since then Jeff has been working nonstop, for studios and networks and independents. He's had four other movies made, including Disney favorite "IRON WILL" and Humanitas Prize nominee "SAVING MILLY," for CBS. In 2005 Jeff wrote and directed the indie comedy "Dave Barry'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO GUYS," and in 2009 he completed his first novel, "THE BELL TOWER," a boarding school story spanning twenty years in the lives of seven characters. In addition to "SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE - THE MUSICAL," Jeff is also writing "COLOUR MY WORLD" for Broadway, based on songs from the rock band Chicago.
Jeff lives in Santa Barbara, CA. He has two grown children, who call and write often.
DAVID SHOR (Producer)
Shor's business advisory clients in the entertainment industry include screenwriters, producers, directors and performers across the spectrum of the industry; from major showroom acts in Las Vegas, to world-renowned "cirque" performers, to movie production, to screenwriters, to event productions. Shor has raised and managed tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients. Shor has served as Producer/ Executive Producer and managing partner of Labrador Pictures (feature motion pictures), Managing Partner of Labrador Media Group, Executive Producer for The Flying Cranes (cirque performers-worldwide), Producer for Goodman Productions (live events-Las Vegas), Producer for TJ Productions (live events), Production Adviser/Consultant for Delaware Pictures (motion pictures) and Producer for Liberty Jam Corporation (live concerts including: Eric Clapton, Santana, The Eagles) and he represents performers, writers, filmmakers and other entertainment professionals as manager. Shor was Producer and Executive Producer of the recently released motion picture "Dave Barry's Complete Guide To Guys" and he is presently producing the stage adaptation of Sleepless In Seattle for Broadway. Shor's company Sleepless In Seattle Management, LLC holds the rights to the show. Shor has several motion picture projects in various stages of production, including the feature film "The Baker's Toy" with his long time business partner, writer Jeff Arch. Shor has served as an advisor on numerous motion picture projects. Mr. Shor serves on numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards. Mr. Shor recently served as President of the Tahoe-Reno International Film Festival and is presently a member of the Producer's Network of the Cannes Film Festival, serves as Chairman of the Board and President of the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival and he served on the board of the Ray Bradbury Theater and Film Foundation.