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Monday, September 27, 2010


"Movies are for pussies. Musicals are hard." That’s how screenwriter Janus "Jannie" Cercone summed up the difference between working in film and live theater when she was interviewed lately by the Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Cercone and her husband, Michael Manheim, have taken their 1992 movie "Leap of Faith," which she wrote and Manheim co-produced for Paramount, and made it into a stage musical starring Brooke Shields and Raul Esparza. Now in previews, it opens October 3 at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles, perhaps on the way to Broadway. The music wrote their longtime friend and composer Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast," "Little Mermaid"), who with eight Oscars has more than any other living person. A veteran of theater ("Little Shop of Horrors"), he's also has been nominated twice for Tonys. Besides, Alan is a wonderful person. I had the pleasure of working with him on two shows. He can be cruelly honest, though. "In our very first meeting," Cercone said, "Alan said, 'You know musicals take about 10 years.' I thought he was kidding. 'Yeah, right. You're so funny.' And here we are 10 years later." Yes, musicals are hard indeed.

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