Finding Neverland is an original musical with music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and a book by James Graham. Inspired by the 1998 play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee and his 2004 adaptation Finding Neverland, the musical made its world premiere at the Curve Theatre in Leicester in 2012, with the reworked version making its world premiere in 2014 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following completion of its Cambridge run, the production transferred to Broadway in March 2015.
After 17 months on Broadway, the production of Finding Neverland closed on August 21, 2016, and began a US national tour in October 2016.
On 6 February 2011, La Jolla Playhouse, California, announced that they would produce a new stage musical based on the film with the book by Allan Knee, score by Scott Frankel (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics), and directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford. A planned production at La Jolla Playhouse was not held. A developmental reading was held in New York on 31 March 2011, with Julian Ovenden, Kelli O'Hara, Tony Roberts, Mary Beth Peil, Michael Cumpsty, and Meredith Patterson, directed by Ashford. The adaptation had its world premiere on 22 September 2012 at Curve in Leicester. Directed by Rob Ashford, it starred Julian Ovenden as J.M Barrie and West End actress Rosalie Craig as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies.
On 4 September 2013, it was announced that producer Harvey Weinstein had hired Barry Weissler as executive producer. They planned on opening a revised version of the musical at the American Repertory Theater (ART), Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014. The revised musical had a new creative team, with Diane Paulus as director, a new book by James Graham, and 22 songs by Gary Barlow, with a few songs from the original composers. A private reading was held in September 2013 with Brian d'Arcy James as Barrie and Jason Alexander as the "nagging theater producer". On February 27 2014, a further developmental workshop was announced for March with Matthew Morrison as Barrie.
The revised production ran at the ART from 23 July 2014 to 28 September 2014, with songs by six-time Ivor Novello winner Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, the book by James Graham and choreography by Mia Michaels; ART artistic director Diane Paulus is the director. The full cast and creative team was announced on 2 June 2014, with Jeremy Jordan as Barrie and Laura Michelle Kelly as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies featured. The cast also includes Michael McGrath as Charles Frohman, Carolee Carmello as Madame du Maurier, Jeanna de Waal as Mary Barrie, Aidan Gemme as Peter, Alex Dreier as Michael, Sawyer Nunes as George and Hayden Signoretti as Jack. Roger Bart who was originally announced for the character of Charles Frohman was replaced by Michael McGrath.
Jennifer Hudson debuted the song "Neverland", from the musical, at the 68th Tony Awards on 8 June 2014.
The ART production directed by Diane Paulus moved to Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in March 2015. On 10 November 2014, it was announced that Matthew Morrison would take Jordan's place in the portrayal of J. M. Barrie in the Broadway production. Kelsey Grammer starred as Charles Frohman and Laura Michelle Kelly reprised the role of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. Previews began 15 March 2015, with the official opening on 15 April. The production did not receive any Tony Award nominations. The Broadway production closed on August 21, 2016 after 565 performances.
In early 2016 it was announced that Finding Neverland would open in London in 2017, starring Alfie Boe as J.M. Barrie. The rest of the cast has not been announced. On 15 May 2016, Gary Barlow performed the song "Something About This Night" from the musical for the Queen's 90th birthday celebration, hosted by Ant & Dec. Guest starring was Catherine Jenkins and Dame Shirley Bassey.
The US national tour began in Buffalo, New York on October 7, 2016, prior to the official opening on October 11. The tour is directed by Diane Paulus and features Kevin Kern as J.M. Barrie, Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, Tom Hewitt as Frohman/Hook, Crystal Kellogg, Joanna Glushak, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer, Tyler Patrick Hennessy, Ben Krieger, Eli Tokash and Mitchell Wray.
Note: Below are the principal casts of all professional major productions.
In the Leicester production, Lord Cannan was called Lord Griffin and Charles Blount was called Maximilian Blunt. Cut characters include PG Wodehouse (Norman Bowman), Mermaid (Ashley Hale), Scheherazade (Frankie Jenna), Mother (Julia Jupp), Arthur Conan Doyle (Martin Ledwith), Sally (Zoe Rainey), GK Chesteron (Gary Watson), Jerome K. Jerome (Stephen Webb), and David (James Scudamore).
Notable Broadway replacements
Charles Frohman/Captain Hook: Anthony Warlow, Terrence Mann, Kelsey Grammer, Marc Kudisch
J.M. Barrie: Tony Yazbeck, Alfie Boe
Mrs. du Maurier: Sandy Duncan, Sally Ann Triplett
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
Finding Neverland at the Internet Broadway Database