Jeannie, Jesse & Rocky: The Musicals?
There's a singing, dancing Hitler already on Broadway, thanks to the fertile mind of Mel Brooks and his show, "The Producers." Now, if various other creators see their projects come to fruition, the Great White Way also could soon be bursting with such larger-than-life characters as Rocky Balboa, Inspector Clouseau, TV's Jeannie (from the bottle) and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Jeannie, of course, was the central focus of the NBC sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," which ran from 1965 to 1970 (and lives forever in syndication) starring Barbara Eden, now 67, as the magical maiden who "belonged" to her astronaut master (Larry Hagman). The show's creator, Sidney Sheldon, has granted the rights to a team of producers that includes Michael Viner, who, with Sheldon, is currently executive producing a movie version of "Jeannie" for Columbia Pictures, reports Variety. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Metro Goldwyn Mayer has developed a stage-producing arm with the purpose of musical-izing some of its old properties, and these could include Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" series. Already, Blake Edwards's and Peter Sellers's "Pink Panther" comedy franchise about Inspector Clouseau is being worked up for the boards, while the musical adaptation of MGM's 1957 "The Sweet Smell of Success" is currently trying out in Chicago, prior to opening on Broadway. John Lithgow stars as J.J. Hunsecker, a Walter Winchell-like columnist made infamous in the movie by Burt Lancaster, and the score is by Marvin Hamlisch ("A Chorus Line"). But the biggest news seems to have come out of Minnesota on Wednesday, when the governor's office said the former wrestler-turned-politico is personally helping shape the script and songs for a proposed show about his life. "The Body Ventura," as it is being called, is destined for Broadway, Ventura spokesman John Wodele told Reuters, with Playbill On-Line quoting lyricist Stephen Dolginoff on how Ventura, 50, "really understands dramatic license and was very helpful about how I could make (the musical) truer to life." Send in the clowns.
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