Arny Granat and Jam Productions are finalizing negotiations to produce the latest theatrical effort based on the music of a popular recording artist.
"Moonshadow," a concert musical, features music and stories written by Yusuf, who is also known as Cat Stevens and Yusuf Islam.
"We’re in the stages right now of collaborating with someone to finalize the script, then go into workshop mode," Granat told Pollstar.
Calling the theatrical production "Yusuf’s ‘Mamma Mia!’," Granat explained that Jam came into the picture because Yusuf was looking for an independent theatrical producer with a background in music.
"When you open the phonebook, there aren’t too many people who fit that description," Granat said, laughing.
Jam Productions promoted some Cat Stevens shows during the singer/songwriter’s heyday, and has since made its theatrical bones with three Tony Awards for such productions as "Spamalot."
"Moonshadow" will feature a performing troupe of singers and actors and will weave together new songs along with classic pop tunes from Yusuf’s formidable catalog, including "Father and Son," "Wild World," "Morning Has Broken," "Peace Train," "The First Cut is the Deepest" and, of course, "Moonshadow."
Granat recently met with Yusuf in London and said the artist – who has long since cleared up his highly publicized difficulties traveling to the U.S. – has been in Nashville working on a new album and is very excited about the new project.
And so is Granat.
"This truly is an exciting project for our company. It’s been over 30 years since we last worked with this legendary artist, and we’re thrilled to help bring the music of Cat Stevens back to the stage."
"Moonshadow" won’t mark the first time Yusuf’s music has been the soundscape for a dramatic production. He provided the soundtrack for cult film favorite "Harold and Maude" in 1971. But it will be the first time he’s produced such a work for the stage.
Granat said he and Yusuf hope to workshop "Moonshadow" in the coming months, possibly in New York City. A touring production is possible next year, but very early in the planning stages.