The new musical Bruce, scheduled to begin previews May 27 at Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theater, has canceled its May 31 performances due to a labor shortage. The May 27-28 performances were previously canceled.
"Like others, we are experiencing the ripple effect of COVID-related labor shortages that we could never have anticipated a year ago when we put the schedule together for this large-scale musical," a production spokesperson told Playbill May 27.
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The musical based on Carl Gottlieb’s novel The Jaws Log, about the making of the blockbuster Jaws film, is currently scheduled to officially open June 8, and the world premiere will continue through June 26. (Paper Mill Playhouse had been scheduled to present the new musical in June 2021 in a co-production with Seattle Rep, but the pandemic altered those plans.)
Tony nominee Jarrod Spector—who played Sonny Bono in The Cher Show, a record-breaking 1,500 performances as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, and Barry Mann in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, all on Broadway—takes on another real-life artist in the new musical, Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg.
He is joined by Hans Altwies (An Iliad), Eric Ankrim (Come From Away), David Benoit (Les Misérables), Preston Truman Boyd (Kiss Me, Kate), E. Faye Butler (Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), Beth DeVries (Les Misérables), Candice Song Donehoo (Beauty and the Beast ), Jay Donnell (The Color Purple national tour), Alexandria J. Henderson (VDreamgirls), MJ Jurgensen (Matilda), Justin Keyes (Mary Poppins), Ramzi Khalaf (A Christmas Carol), Corinna Lapid Munter (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Timothy McCuen Piggee (Catch Me If You Can), Cullen R. Titmas (The Last Ship), Brenna Mikale Wagner (The Little Mermaid national tour), Matt Wolfe (Scandalous), Geoff Packard (Bandstand), and Napoleon Maurice Douglas (A Christmas Carol) with understudy Kyle Nicholas Anderson (Les Misérables) and swings Brian Lange (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and Sarah Rose Davis (Urinetown).
The Stratford Festival's Donna Feore, also attached to the Broadway-aimed The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation, directs and choreographs the production, which features music by Richard Oberacker and a book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker, the team who penned the Broadway musical Bandstand.
Bruce tells the story of a 26-year-old Steven Spielberg as he sets out to film an adaptation of a best-selling novel in 1974. While invading a sleepy fishing island off Cape Cod, he faced several challenges including weather, water, hostile locals, an exploding budget, and a highly dysfunctional mechanical star named Bruce.
The musical also features scenic design by Jason Sherwood, costume design by Tina McCartney, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Brian Hsieh, projection design by Shawn Duan, music direction by Lily Ling, orchestrations and music supervision by Greg Anthony Rassen, stage management by Jessica C. Bomball, hair and wig design by Liz Printz, and dialect coaching by Gin Hammond. Rebecca Aparicio serves as the associate director, Angela Chan as the associate music director, and Nikki Long as the assistant choreographer.
This is not the first theatrical production to spotlight the making of Jaws. The 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit The Shark Is Broken, Ian Shaw and Joseph Nixon's comedic look at the behind-the-scenes drama of the horror film, opened in the West End at the Ambassadors Theatre in October 2021.