Immortality is not all it’s cracked up to be.
That’s the premise of “Tuck Everlasting.” Since 1975, the children’s book — and 2 films that followed — have captivated audiences of all ages.
This month, the curtain rises for previews of “Tuck Everlasting: The Musical.” Yet the story might never have reached the Broadway stage without a woman from Westport.
Arlene Scanlan is the lead producer. This is her first time in charge. But it’s hardly her 1st production.
With a background in marketing and merchandising (her Westport-based firm, Moxie & Company, licenses Garfield and Peanuts characters) and a performing arts interest as a teenager (she went to New York’s Music and Arts High School, and Juilliard), producing seemed a natural next life step.
Scanlan’s initial venture — “On Golden Pond” in 2005, with James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams — was “scary and exciting.” Raising money — and meeting deadlines — is tough. But, she says, “at the same time you’re creating and building something that people see and enjoy.”
She also helped produce “Blood Spirit,” for which Angela Lansbury won a 2009 Tony. That was followed in 2010 by “La Cage aux Folles” and 2011’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Daniel Radcliffe’s success.
“I’m still learning,” Scanlan insists.
With “Tuck Everlasting” — working alongside director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (“Something Rotten!”, “Aladdin,” “Book of Mormon”) — she has learned “more than I ever dreamt. There’s so much detail involved with being a lead producer — everything from molding the show to developing an ad campaign.”
There is one similarity to all the shows she’s produced: “It never ends the way we started out.”
Scanlan has also enlisted a number of Westporters as fellow investors.
“Tuck” earned rave reviews in Atlanta last year. But the show continues to evolve, a couple of weeks before its Broadway debut. “We’re coming close,” Scanlan says. “But we’re still refining it, keeping the momentum, creating excitement.”
Previews begin at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 31. Opening night is April 26.
The other day, she saw the show’s first ad, live on TV. It was one she’d helped approve.
“I can’t believe it’s here,” Scanlan says.
Immortality may not be great, as “Tuck Everlasting” teaches. But let’s hope Arlene Scanlan’s version of the show has a long and prosperous run.