One of most delightful new elements of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is the prospect of a Stars Hollow musical. Although there were bits and pieces of theatricality in the original series, mostly provided by Kirk, this apparently will be a proper theatre production with four numbers featuring music by Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, although in the world of Stars Hollow, it is a creation of Taylor Doose.
For a theatre geek like me, this is heaven. Amy Sherman-Palladino is a known fan of musical theatre, with her roots as a dancer (inspiring Bunheads). Last year, Amy announced she was writing the book for a musical; however, this appears to be something different from the Stars Hollow musical, since she said the new musical was based on a foreign movie. Also, she cast Kelly Bishop, who was famous for creating the role of Sheila in the original Broadway cast of Chorus Line, in both Gilmore Girls and Bunheads (also, Lauren Graham appeared in Guys and Dolls after the original series ended).
For the Gilmore Girls musical, the Palladinos brought together an ace Broadway team. Jeanine Tesori’s latest smash Fun Home is a thoughtful, beautiful, and yes, fun delight–a home run in a long run of accomplishments including Tony-nominated Caroline or Change (mentioned in Season 5 of Gilmore Girls) and three projects with Tony-winning actress Sutton Foster (currently on TV’s Younger and off-Broadway in Sweet Charity) who appears in the Stars Hollow musical along with her real life ex-husband and Broadway legend Christian Borle (currently on Broadway in Falsettos and soon to be Willy Wonka) plus Kerry Butler (whom I saw three times on the Great White Way in Xanadu).
In an interview with Playbill, Jeanine Tesori said she became a fan of Gilmore Girls after its initial run:
I became a fan of the show strangely enough after I met Amy and Dan through Sutton, who met them through Bunheads. Sutton and Christian were crazy fans of the show, and Amy was one of the producers of Violet when we brought it to Broadway from City Center, and that’s when I became a huge fan.
When it came time for the Revival, Jeanine relates how she got involved:
Amy and Dan called me right before they were starting. She called and said: Do you want to be involved with this? And I love them, and I said sure. She said: OK, the first song plays in about a week.
For a theatre pro accustomed to taking years to develop and workshop a musical, the pace of TV was quite startling. Another issue was that Dan and Amy were in Los Angeles while Jeanine was in New York, necessitating the use of e-mail to write the new songs. Sutton Foster and Christian Borle did happen to be on the East Coast and so were able to rehearse with Jeanine. This gave super-fan Sutton the chance to have some input into the songs:
We talked about all of the characters, especially Sutton. She sings a solo, and she knows these characters in such a crazy, deep way that some of the lines, we tweaked. So it was really thoughtfully done.
Jeanine was asked if she had any interactions with Carole King (whose show Beautiful is on Broadway and on tour) who sings one of the new songs:
No, but Dan sent me a video of her singing one of the songs, ‘Love Revolution.’ Literally, they’re going to just bury me with it. It made me so happy!
Sutton Foster also recently talked about Stars Hollow: The Musical, which you can read here.