The producers’ announcement described the musical as a “contemporary look at the life and death” of Houdini, and Mr. Sorkin made particular note that the show would not be a comprehensive biography. In a statement he said the musical would focus on “an epic battle that took place between the world’s greatest illusionist and a trio of women, known as ‘Spiritualists,’ who convinced millions of people, including the editors of Scientific American and The New York Times, that they could communicate with the dead.”
A musical that’s not a comprehensive biography of a famous figure? Well, we never!
The Houdini project, which has been long-stalled in the production stage, has a soundtrack by Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, with Kurt Andersen (last seen complaining about how nothing is new anymore in Vanity Fair) as a creative consultant. (Originally he and Danny Elfman were attached to write and compose the show.) Somehow, Mr. Sorkin has managed to write the book for the play while developing a show for HBO about
Keith Olbermann a news anchor who is not Keith Olbermann.
We’d line up for tickets, but the show hasn’t even found a stage yet. That’s fine: to see the lines of women currently snaking around Mr. Jackson’s current musical review, the play could take place in Bubba Gump Shrimp and it would still sell out every night.