Comics on Broadway are not unheard of; Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is currently running to full houses, with amazing (and near fatal) aerial stunts over the audiences head. StarKid Productions, the folks who brought you a Very Potter Musical just recently staged Holy Musical B@man (B-at-man, get it?) in Chicago, which will probably be 10 times better than any official Batman musical that may ever get produced. And of course there is the grand-daddy of comic book musicals, It’s a Bird.. It’s a Plane.. It’s Superman! first produced on Broadway in 1968 and mercifully closed after only 129 performances.
But now news has come out that IDW Publishing and Topps Trading Cards are coming together to produce a Broadway Musical based on Topps’ oldest and most well known non-sport property, Mars Attacks! IDW currently holds the license to produce comics based on the trading card series.
MARS ATTACKS: The Broadway Musical
Coinciding with the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, trading card giant Topps and comic book publisher IDW announced today an exciting joint venture: the co-production of a thrilling, big-budget Broadway musical based on the MARS ATTACKS saga, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012. While Topps and IDW have each had success with their properties in film, a Broadway production is a first for both companies.
“Topps and IDW recently made a long-term commitment to MARS ATTACKS in the form of an ongoing comic book series, and this unique project is an extension of that,” said Ira Friedman, Topps VP of Publishing and Licensing.
The musical, to be titled Mars Attacks: 21st Century Slaughter, will be written and produced by comics veteran John Layman, and set in the same continuity as the comic book that he is authoring. His story, adapted for the stage, chronicles the modern-day invasion of Earth by grotesque aliens from Mars, who utilize giant insects, killer robots and a variety of stunning death rays to conquer the planet.
“Ever since I saw The Sound of Music as a youngster living in New York I have dreamed of a career on Broadway, and I’m very excited to be branching out into theatre,” said Layman. “My approach to MARS ATTACKS on stage is sort of a science fiction version of West Side Story: a human and a Martian involved in a star-crossed romance, set against the backdrop of a violent interstellar war—with all of humanity caught in between! It’s going to be a rollicking good time, with songs that will make you want to get up and dance!”
Mars Attacks: 21st Century Slaughter is scheduled for rehearsals later this year with a Broadway debut planned for 2013. Topps and IDW are in negotiations with a high-profile director/songwriter team and are currently seeking a seven-foot tall male lead with extensive rock vocal experience.
IDW’s comic book series “Mars Attacks” launches this June. Topps will release a commemorative card set this July. For more information on Mars Attacks, follow their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MarsAttacks
No word yet if the musical would begin out of town, say at the La Jolla Playhouse, which is near to IDW’s base of operations in San Diego, CA or if it will go straight to NYC.