Great Scott! Almost 30 years after its release and Back to the Future is still a pop culture phenomenon. The trilogy that sparked the imagination of filmmakers, engineers, and fans is arguably the best film trilogy of all time, surpassing Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings. While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get Back to the Future Part IV, or god forbid a remake, a new iteration of the time travel franchise will make its way to the London stage.
As reported on /Film, creators Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are working to bring Back to the Future to London’s West End as a musical. The two are reportedly working with Amblin Entertainment and Universal Stage Productions to bring Back to the Future to the stage. Universal Stage Productions previously worked on the musical adaptations of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz and Billy Elliot, which debuted on Broadway and in the West End, respectively. From Bob Gale (via BTTF.com):
We’re thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake. Director Jamie Lloyd is full of passion, energy and imaginative ideas and we are overjoyed to have the film’s composer Alan Silvestri composing the music, with lyrics by Glen Ballard who has also collaborated with Zemeckis before on many projects. With all of us working together, we know the integrity of the material will be preserved in a production that will be a wonderful companion to the Trilogy. We intend to use music from the movie along with brand new songs to make a version of Back to the Future that is fresh, entertaining, and takes advantage of all the amazing things that can now be done on stage. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film.
The new musical seems to be going in the right direction, with a lot of the original trilogy’s filmmakers working on it, such as film composer Alan Silvestri. The main theme for Back to the Future is so iconic, it would feel like something was missing if Silvestri wasn’t composing new music for the show. Glen Ballard is a Grammy Award-winning lyricist who has worked with Zemeckis in the past on the film Polar Express. Ballard also co-wrote and produced Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” in 1995, which is also being turned into a musical, but this time on Broadway. I’m shocked to see that Huey Lewis isn’t somehow involved with this project. Gale continues:
The full set of credits known at this point is that the musical’s book will be by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Jamie Lloyd; it will have new music and lyrics from Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard; other familiar music from the film will be used, including ‘The Power of Love’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode;’ and the production will be directed by Jamie Lloyd, with set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, illusions by Paul Kieve, lighting design by Jon Clark, and musical supervision by Alan Williams. There’s even someone consulting on the skateboarding bits!
I’m going to look forward to see how the producers of the musical will pull off hoverboards and cars crashing into manure on the stage. It looks like the Back to the Future: The Musical will open in London’s West End sometime in 2015, in time for the film trilogy’s 30th anniversary. Hopefully after that it will move to Broadway.