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'High School Musical' Star Vanessa Hudgens to Headline Broadway-Bound 'Gigi'

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Sep 10, 2014 03:56 PM EDT

Vanessa Hudgens, best known as "Gabriella Montez" in Disney's High School Musical movies, will star in a Broadway-bound production of Gigi at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater. Previews begin January 16, 2015 prior to a January 29 opening. The engagement is scheduled to run through February 12.

Additional Broadway cast and crew have not been announced, but the workshop cast also includes Broadway veterans Corey Cott (Newsies), Kate Burton (Spring Awakening, The Beauty Queen of Leenane) and Victoria Clark (Urinetown, The Light in the Piazza, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella).

Gigi will be Vanessa Hudgens's Broadway debut. It seems appropriate for the High School Musical star's first appearance on Broadway to be in, well, a musical. The multiple Teen Choice Awards winner has few theater credits as an adult. Prominent on her resume is "Mimi" in Rent directed by Neil Patrick Harris at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010. Her movie credits aside from the High School Musical films include Thirteen, Bandslam and Spring Breakers.

Gigi is based on a much-adapted 1944 novella by Colette. A 1951 Broadway stage adaptation by Anita Loos starred a then-unknown Audrey Hepburn. The musical film version written by Alan Jay Lerner with songs by Lerner and Loewe starred Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan and won nine Academy Awards in 1959, including Best Picture. Lerner and Loewe's score for the 1973 Broadway stage musical version won the Tony Award for Best Score.

The upcoming staging has been newly adapted by Heidi Thomas (Upstairs, Downstairs) and is directed by Eric D. Schaeffer (Million Dollar Quartet, Follies). Choreography is by Joshua Bergasse (TV's Smash, the imminent Broadway revival of On the Town).

The story concerns a teenage girl in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris whose grooming as a courtesan is interrupted by real love. Songs include "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "The Night They Invented Champagne," "I Remember It Well," "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" and "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore."

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TagsVanessa Hudgens, High School Musical, audrey hepburn, Gigi, Lerner and Loewe, Leslie Caron, Neil Patrick Harris, Rent, Kennedy Center, broadway, Broadway Musical, Musical, musical theater