New television series The Show Must Go On from Zoey's Extraordinary Playbook creator Austin Winsberg, executive producer Robert Greenblatt, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and The Tannenbaum Company is now in development.
Darkly comedic, the murder mystery show's development was first reported by Deadline. The first season's central crime will take place in the lead up to a big fictional performance of The Phantom of the Opera which will serve as backdrop for the first season. In the final days before going live, the production faces the usual problems, cast feuds, and network pressures—making it truly inconvenient and terrible timing for a lead to suddenly die. Making it to the final curtain has just become a true matter of life or death on the stage.
Sources told Deadline that audiences can expect "many of its famous scenes and hits beloved by theatre fans the world over, including 'The Music of the Night,'" though the musical will not be presented in its entirety during the series. The Phantom of the Opera, while adapted to the screen for film, has not previously appeared in a television series.
“Austin and I have a connection with musicals. When he pitched me the idea to do a murder mystery against a live musical backdrop, I thought it was perfect for me,” Greenblatt said to Deadline. "So, I reached out to Andrew Lloyd Webber to see if he would let us use Phantom of the Opera, which has never been done before. I pitched him the idea, and he loved it and got on board. I just thought it was the perfect show to have a murder happen because the show itself is macabre, and the Phantom is doing all these things in the basement of the theater."
Winsberg will executive produce along with Lloyd Webber; Greenblatt via his The Green Room banner; Eric and Kim Tannenbaum of The Tannenbaum Co; and Richard Shepard, who has been announced as pilot director. The series is a co-production between Universal Television and Lionsgate Television.
Based on Gaston Leroux’s horror novel, The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of the Phantom, who haunts the stage of the Paris Opera and subsequently falls in love with a beautiful young soprano. The musical first opened on Broadway January 26, 1988, and won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Featuring music by Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), and a book by Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber, it continues to run on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre.