Gary Barlow signs up for Finding Neverland musical

X Factor judge joins team reworking Harvey Weinstein musical, alongside playwright James Graham and director Diane Paulus

Singer-songwriter Gary Barlow has signed up to co-write the score for Harvey Weinstein's Finding Neverland musical, which still has its sights set on the West End, despite receiving mixed reviews on its first outing last year.

The musical, based on the film of the same name, focuses on the personal life of Peter Pan author JM Barrie, and received its world premiere at the Leicester Curve in October 2012.

Producer Weinstein had reportedly hoped to transfer the production into the West End this year. But he has now brought a host of new personnel to make changes to the musical and its production. While Barlow will join composers Scott Frankel and Michael Koire, This House playwright James Graham has been hired to edit the musical's book.

Rob Ashford, currently co-directing Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh for the Manchester international festival, is already committed to several productions next year and will be replaced by the US director Diane Paulus, whose current Broadway production of Pippin is in the running for a number of Tony awards.

However, at present, no concrete production dates have been announced, nor casting decisions, so it is not known whether Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig will reprise the roles of Barrie and Sylvia Davies, which were played on screen by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

The musical will be Barlow's first theatrical role, as neither he nor any other member of Take That had a hand in the jukebox musical based on their back catalogue, Never Forget.

He said: "This is something I've always wanted to do so it's a real privilege to be involved. I'm really enjoying working with the team and I love the story; it's also great to be working with a legendary creative like Harvey Weinstein."

Weinstein echoed the sentiment by expressing his admiration for Barlow, whom he described as "one of the finest songwriters in the world".


Matt Trueman

The GuardianTramp

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