Musical Inspired By Huey Lewis & the News in the Works

Huey Lewis and the News perform onstage at the Mitsubishi Motors ArenaBowl Extravaganza during ArenaBowl XXII weekend on July 26, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Huey Lewis and the News perform onstage at the Mitsubishi Motors ArenaBowl Extravaganza during ArenaBowl XXII weekend on July 26, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

In today’s installment of “What, really?” news, a Huey Lewis and the News musical is in the planning stages.

Titled Heart of Rock and Roll, the jukebox musical is not a biographical story about San Francisco’s kings of ’80s pop-rock, but it will feature their hit songs like “Hip to Be Square,” “If This is It” and “The Power of Love.” Though a premiere date or theater have not yet been announced, Rolling Stone reports that Gordon Greenberg will helm the project. Based in New York, Greenberg has directed dozens of works for the stage, including an award-winning production of Working that he adapted with Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Television celebrity Jimmy Kimmel helped the band announce the news in a video released Thursday morning. In the video, Kimmel expects to star in the musical as Lewis, despite Lewis not being a character in the show.

“I’m retiring from my show to play Huey Lewis, in a musical about Huey Lewis,” Kimmel says in the video. (Kimmel hosts the show Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC.)

Lewis and the News ruled ’80s radio after the release of their third album, 1983’s Sports. (It also inspired a gruesome scene in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.) In total, the band has had 19 top ten singles, three platinum albums and an Oscar nomination over their almost 40-year career.

By having their own musical, Lewis and the News join the ranks of iconic bands like ABBA and Green Day. It could also be a quite profitable venture. For example, Green Day’s American Idiot grossed between $400,000 to $1.3 million weekly during its Broadway from 2010-2011. But it could also face the same fate as musical flops such as the Beach Boys musical Good Vibrations or The Times They Are A-Changin’, the Bob Dylan-inspired musical that closed after just 28 performances.

The musical is the band’s first project since their 2013 single, “While We’re Young,” which was featured in the animated film Animal Crackers. The band is also expected to release a new album this year.

Musical Inspired By Huey Lewis & the News in the Works 8 February,2018Kevin L. Jones

Author

Kevin L. Jones

Kevin Jones reports on the Bay Area arts scene for KQED. He loves his wife and two kids, and music today makes him feel old.

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