2022 Tony nominee Carmen Cusack will lead workshops of Reunion, a new Frank Wildhorn musical inspired by the 1970s music scene in Laurel Canyon. The project features original songs with music by Wildhorn and a book and lyrics by Rinne B Groff. Grammy-winning artist-producer Peter Asher serves as the musical's lead music consultant.
Set on the Sunset Strip in 1996, Reunion centers on a fictional '70s group, Archer, that reunites to try and save a famed music venue and artistic launching pad from being turned into a Starbucks. Also attached to the project along with Cusack are Jeremy Kushnier, Jim Hogan, and Alex Sturtevant.
The developing work is directed by Gabriel Barre, with music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by 2022 Tony nominee and longtime Wildhorn collaborator, Jason Howland. The development process kicked off with a "first look" 29-hour reading this week, with future plans including live shows to be announced. The project is produced by Next to Normal star Louis Hobson and his Indie Theatrical.
"Reunion is a labor of BIG love," says Wildhorn. "Writing the score brings me back to my musical roots in the '70s—rock, pop, folk, soul—all the music I adored and played in those days. Rinne and I have had too much fun writing this, and working with the legend Peter Asher is inspiring and probably the coolest thing ever! Reunion, and the band, ARCHER, forever!”
A three-time Grammy winner, Asher is known for his work as a manager and record producer with such artists and groups as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Diana Ross, and more. The project is not Asher's first brush with showtunes, having produced the soundtrack for the 2004 Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely.
"Working with Frank and Louis on Reunion takes us back to a classic musical era which is still relevant today," adds Asher. "It takes us inside the life of the fictitious but utterly realistic band, ARCHER. We learn to share their dreams and disappointments; to love, treasure and remember their hits, brilliant new songs from Frank Wildhorn and Rinne B. Groff; and to understand their stories and the history of the band. As we join the musicians in their quest to get back together for a special gig, we learn so much, not just about the band and its members, but about human nature and music, about love, ambition and family, and about the determination and the frailties that all of us share."