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Cameron Crowe’s ‘Virtually Well-known’ rocks out on Broadway

Cameron Crowe poses outside the the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York on Oct. 27, 2022. Crowe has turned his autobiographical coming-of-age film “Almost Famous” into a Broadway stage musical.  The show, now in previews, opens Nov. 3. (Emilio Madrid via AP)

Cameron Crowe poses exterior the the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York on Oct. 27, 2022. Crowe has turned his autobiographical coming-of-age movie “Virtually Well-known” right into a Broadway stage musical. The present, now in previews, opens Nov. 3. (Emilio Madrid by way of AP)


Composer Tom Kitt obtained a praise the opposite day that any songwriter would sing about.

A pal had seen his Broadway stage adaptation of Cameron Crowe’s movie “Virtually Well-known” and could not inform which songs Kitt had provided and which of them had been classics.

Thoughts you, these classics included songs by the likes of Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Joni Mitchell and the Allman Brothers.

“I assumed, ‘Effectively, then I am doing my job,’” remembers Kitt, a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner. “The objective right here was in some methods to make all of it really feel like one voice.”

Kitt has teamed up with Crowe to show the filmmaker’s very autobiographical coming-of-age story for a brand new viewers in a brand new age. The present, now in previews, opens Nov. 3 on the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

“It feels prefer it’s a companion piece to the film,” says Jeremy Herrin, the musical’s director. “It is one other iteration of that story in one other type.”

“Virtually Well-known” facilities on a wise and earnest 15-year-old within the early Nineteen Seventies who manages to get assigned by Rolling Stone journal to do a profile of the fictional midlevel rock band Stillwater.

“It is a couple of younger man discovering that he can specific himself with integrity and that life is healthier for him and people round him when he does so. And that is a robust factor to be reminded of,” says Herrin.

Crowe, the writer-director who gained an Oscar for the movie’s screenplay, was impressed by his personal experiences rising up and says he wished the musical to “seize that very same feeling that the film did.”

In some ways, a stage adaptation makes excellent sense: The movie is about loving music and had a neighborhood continuously bursting into track — one thing musical theater is constructed on.

“That communal feeling and that hold that you’ve got going to a live performance can also be the factor that I expertise once I go to Broadway. I’ll be in a room with a bunch of individuals, having a shared expertise, with storytelling and reside music taking place. So I believe that there is a actual crossover,” says Lia Vollack, lead producer.

The movie starred Billy Crudup as Stillwater’s lead guitarist, Frances McDormand because the younger man’s mom and Kate Hudson as Penny Lane, the band’s chief groupie or, as she prefers to think about herself, her muse.

“On the coronary heart of it, it is a story that many individuals can relate to, which is discovering your personal household,” says Vollack. “You could have your loved ones that you just’re with, who you’re keen on and who’re part of you, but additionally discovering neighborhood exterior of that.”

Kitt provided 17 unique songs, did the orchestrations and preparations, and collaborated with e book author Crowe on lyrics. He was already a fan of the filmmaker’s “Quick Occasions at Ridgemont Excessive,” “Say Something,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Vanilla Sky.”

“I really like to jot down about connection and catharsis and what are issues that hassle us. What are issues that we’re in movement on, and the place can we settle and discover nice decision and hopefully stroll out of a theater feeling impressed and excited to speak about what you simply skilled?” he mentioned. “That is a Cameron Crowe movie for me.”

The problem for Kitt was to jot down new songs alongside such basic rock songs as “Easy Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “twentieth Century Boy” by T. Rex and “Ramble On” by Zeppelin. The movie’s rating gained a Grammy.

“Once I was a classical pianist — simply beginning to examine within the ’80s — it was the music of the ’70s that took me away from Mozart and into Bruce Springsteen and Elton John and Billy Joel at my piano,” Kitt says. “The task was to jot down unique music within the type of music that I really like.”

The inventive crew selected to stud the musical with songs that reveal the characters’ emotions. So if the movie has a detailed up, the musical will get a track as an alternative. Kitt usually plumbed the movie’s script for the lyrics.

Take the track “The Evening-Time Sky’s Obtained Nothing On You,” a quiet second between the muse and the guitarist. Kitt begins the track with dialogue from the movie just about phrase for phrase: “The best way you flip a resort into a house/The best way you choose up strays wherever you go.”

“That was the objective for me as a result of Cameron is a poet, and he writes poetry about our on a regular basis expertise. So it is a pure for that to turn out to be lyric,” says Kitt, who has labored on the musicals “Subsequent to Regular,” Inexperienced Day’s “American Fool” and Alanis Morissette’s ”Jagged Little Tablet.”

The creators initially thought-about utilizing solely preexisting songs, however that posed a problem to the storytelling. In addition they thought-about all unique music however would awkwardly need to plop in John’s “Tiny Dancer” — which is sung in a pivotal scene. Kitt, who has labored with originals and written his personal, was the reply they wanted.

“Tom simply made all of it stream collectively on this beautiful tapestry of this world and created a world with it and it’s seamless,” says Vollack. “Tom may be very comfy swimming in each waters.”

The creators additionally took the chance to change some issues, like going deeper into the characters of the mother and Penny Lane, or as Crowe says “placing a little bit extra padding on the shoulders of those characters.” Each ladies get songs, together with “The Wind” for Penny and “Elaine’s Lecture” for mother.

Vollack has observed some younger ladies within the Broadway viewers carrying a model of Penny’s distinctive fur-trimmed coat, a nod to her standing as a cool, sturdy feminine character.

“The ladies in our story — provided that Roe v Wade was being handed at the moment — they’ve extra rights than ladies do proper now,” Vollack says. “That was a time when ladies had been getting these rights for the primary time and having company over their very own lives and their very own sexuality.”

The musical — just like the movie — is about studying to be your genuine self and seizing your second — one thing the creators regarded again on of their on lives whereas creating the present.

“All of us wish to have a transformative second the place you out of the blue see your future and also you see the particular person you are meant to be. On this story, it’s music. And for me, it was music,” says Kitt.


Mark Kennedy is at

This story was initially revealed October 31, 2022 11:36 AM.


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