entertainment

A Cave Explorer Died 99 Years Ago. Now His Story Is Broadway Bound.


In 1925, a spelunker named Floyd Collins got trapped in a Kentucky cave and the unsuccessful efforts to rescue him became a media sensation, with print and radio reporters breathlessly tracking the endeavor.

Now a musical about the tragedy is heading to Broadway, three decades after it was first performed and a century after Collins’s death.

Lincoln Center Theater, one of the four nonprofits with Broadway houses, said on Monday that it would stage a revival of “Floyd Collins” at its Vivian Beaumont Theater next spring, with previews beginning March 27 and an opening on April 21.

The musical features a bluegrass score by Adam Guettel and a book, as well as additional lyrics, by Tina Landau, who will direct the production. No cast has been announced.

The show debuted in Philadelphia in 1994, and then had a generally well-received Off Broadway production in 1996 at Playwrights Horizons; it won an Obie Award for music, has periodically been staged at theaters in the United States and Britain, and has fans thanks to an Off Broadway cast album.

Guettel, a Tony winner for “The Light in the Piazza,” is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. He is a Tony nominee again this year, for “Days of Wine and Roses.” And next spring, in addition to “Floyd Collins,” his new musical “Millions,” adapted from the novel and film of the same name, will have an initial staging at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.

“Floyd Collins” will be one of two Broadway shows staged by Lincoln Center Theater this season, which is the final season of its longtime producing artistic director, André Bishop. The nonprofit previously announced that this fall it would stage a Broadway production of “McNeal,” a new play by Ayad Akhtar, starring Robert Downey Jr. as a novelist.

The theater also announced on Monday that it would stage Off Broadway productions of “The Blood Quilt,” written by Katori Hall and directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, and Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts,” revised by Mark O’Rowe and directed by Jack O’Brien.

They join an already announced Off Off Broadway production of “Six Characters,” a new play by Phillip Howze, directed by Dustin Wills. As a fund-raiser in December, the theater is planning a one-night reunion concert of its Tony-winning 2008 revival of “South Pacific.”

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