New Hoagy Carmichael musical at St James Theatre

Susan H. Schulman, whose Broadway credits include The Secret Garden, Little Women and revivals of Sweeney Todd and The Sound of Music, is to direct the world premiere of Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust Road, beginning performances at London’s St. James Theatre Oct. 27 prior to an official opening Oct. 30, for a run through Nov. 21.

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In a press statement, Schulman comments, “Stardust Road is a musical journey that begins in a young place up a lazy river and grows more sophisticated, more urban and urbane. It’s a journey from innocence to experience, from youth to maturity, from farm to the city and it is travelled with Hoagy Carmichael’s masterful musical score as our constant guide and companion.”

Hoagy B Carmichael, Hoagy’s son and co-producer of Stardust Road with Robert Mackintosh, and Hilary A Williams, adds, “Dad’s ability to find the tempo of America was his God-given talent. He rarely wrote songs for a movie, or an artist. He usually had them lying in the trunk, often waiting for a call from a director, or the right singer or, in many cases, his opportunity to sing and play them himself in movies or stage appearances.”

He goes on, “Stardust Road has the luxury to reach into this unusual song catalogue, roughly taken from four decades of Dad’s work. With period dance, the songs will paint a picture of four remarkable eras in America. They are the Ragtime, Jazz and Blues era of the 20s, the romance of New York in the 1930s, the powerful emotions of World War II, and songs written for the Golden Age of Hollywood. Almost all of the tunes are fresh to musical theatre, and there are several gems that few have heard.”

Howard Hoagland “Hoagy” Carmichael was an American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. Born in 1899 in Bloomington, Indiana, he died, aged 82 in 1981 in Rancho Mirage, California. He was raised in humble circumstances, supported by an electrician father, and by the income his mother earned from playing the piano at silent movie showings and local dances. Growing up, Carmichael was exposed to music not only through his mother, but by listening to jazz artists in the African-American neighbourhood of Bucktown. In 1936, Carmichael moved to California and had songs featured in several films. In 1952, he won the Best Song Academy Award for the song “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” from the movie “Here Comes the Groom” starring Bing Crosby. Hoagy also made onscreen appearances in films such as “To Have and Have Not” and “The Best Years of Our Lives.”