Originally slated to debut this year, the Jaws-themed musical Bruce will now be opening in Seattle in 2022, per Deadline. The play earns its title from the nickname given to the mechanical shark used during production of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, with Bruce serving as an adaptation of screenwriter Carl Gottlieb’s The Jaws Log, which chronicles the making of the film. The musical was originally slated to open at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing those plans altered, with Bruce now expected to open at Seattle Rep in May of 2022, which will be directed and choreographed by Stratford Festival’s Donna Feore with a book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and music by Robert Taylor.
The musical was previously described, “Chronicling the making of an iconic movie, Bruce tells the story of then-unknown director Steven Spielberg’s beleaguered film set and the challenges that thwarted his team at every turn, including the film’s star: an uncooperative mechanical shark named Bruce. At its heart, the show proves that when we are faced with hardship and work together as a team, great things can happen.”
Understandably, Jaws might not seem like the most obvious property to center a musical around, but with other horror films like The Evil Dead and Beetlejuice also earning musical adaptations, it’s far from the first to venture into that realm.
Following the debut Jaws hitting theaters in 1975, it serves as the first genuine summer “blockbuster,” with the film’s successes and lengthy lines to score movie tickets coining such a phrase. The film, which was based on the Peter Benchley novel of the same name, earned three sequels, but unlike other properties, has yet to earn an official remake or reboot.
Despite how unlikely a reboot might seem, original production designer Joe Alves isn’t entirely opposed to the idea, as he knows the chemistry between the characters is more important than the techniques used to bring the shark to life.
“Well, there’s so many shark things and everything’s made in CGI. They’re perfectly clean-looking sharks and you could do everything in CGI,” Alves revealed to ComicBook.com in 2020. “So it’s a whole different thing. And what happened with CGI and some of these new shark movies is they just overuse it. ‘Why have one shark? We could have a hundred sharks because we just keep duplicating the CGI.’ So let me say this: I saw Jaws two years ago because we had, in Catalina, there was a museum there and they had a six-month display of all the Jaws illustrations, Greg Nicotero made the three characters full-size and all this stuff. And they had a screening at night on a big screen. I hadn’t seen it on a big screen for a long time. And what I realized … what was really the thing about that movie was the three characters.”
He added, “It was three guys out on a boat, totally different people. Old crusty fisherman, the shark biologist, smart-ass kid, and the cop that didn’t want to be on the boat at all. And so I realized the movie’s not really just about a shark. It’s about those people and their relationship. And then the shark appears. But you take away that and … this is what the brilliant stuff was, was Spielberg’s direction. So I think that was the movie. Duplicating that today, it’s like making Gone With the Wind again.”
Stay tuned for details on Bruce before it debuts in 2022.
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