Broadway next for 'Stereophonic'
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Broadway next for 'Stereophonic'
Eli Gelb, left, and Andrew R. Butler, right, with other cast members in the background, in “Stereophonic" at Playwrights Horizons in New York, Oct. 5, 2023. “Stereophonic,” an acclaimed behind-the-music play about a disputatious band recording a studio album, will transfer to Broadway this spring following a buzzy and sold-out Off Broadway run. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- “Stereophonic,” an acclaimed behind-the-music play about a disputatious band recording a studio album, will transfer to Broadway this spring following a buzzy and sold-out off-Broadway run.

The play, written by David Adjmi, is set mostly inside a Sausalito, California, recording studio, and follows five musicians and two sound engineers through a year in the 1970s. The story — featuring romance, infighting, drug use and a solo-star-in-the-making — resembles that of Fleetwood Mac, but Adjmi says he had many inspirations for the play.

The 14-week Broadway production is expected to begin previews April 3 and to open April 19 at the Golden Theater.

The off-Broadway run, over 10 weeks last fall at the nonprofit Playwrights Horizons, garnered strong reviews. Writing in The New York Times, critic Jesse Green called it “relentlessly compelling.”

The show also won significant praise for its original songs, which were written by Will Butler, a former member of Arcade Fire.

Adam Greenfield, artistic director of Playwrights Horizons, described the play as being about “a group of brilliant artists who are at odds with each other, trying to figure out how to collaborate without killing one another, even when killing one another might be the easier way out.” Also, he said, “it’s set in a world that is incredibly sexy — the West Coast rock scene of the ’70s,” and “it has a killer title.”

Adjmi has been working on the play for a decade; he said the idea first came to him while he was listening to a Led Zeppelin song on a plane and wondering what it would have been like to be in the studio when they were recording it.

“I saw it in my mind’s eye, and I thought, this could be a great idea for a play,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the recording process, but I would talk to experts and try stuff out.”

The process, which included inviting engineers to comment on the script as it evolved, resulted in a high level of verisimilitude, down to the details of a much-praised set by David Zinn.

The production is directed by Daniel Aukin; the entire off-Broadway cast, including Will Brill, Juliana Canfield, Tom Pecinka, Sarah Pidgeon and Chris Stack as the musicians, as well as Andrew R. Butler and Eli Gelb as the engineers, is expected to transfer to Broadway.

The show will be capitalized for up to $4.8 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is being produced by Sue Wagner, John Johnson, Seaview, Sonia Friedman Productions, Linden Productions, and Ashley Melone & Nick Mills.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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