‘Jaws’-Themed Stage Musical ‘Bruce’ Swimming Toward Summer 2021

Even a killer shark – or a broken-down mechanical version thereof – is looking like a welcome sign of hope these days: New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse announced today that its 2020-2021 theater season will include Bruce, a world premiere musical about the problem-plagued filming of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws.

Based on screenwriter Carl Gottlieb’s 1975 memoir The Jaws Log, Bruce will be directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, known for her work with Canada’s Stratford Festival, with a book and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and music by Robert Taylor (the duo behind Broadway’s 2017 Bandstand). Bruce will be a co-production with Seattle Rep, and is set for a June 9 – July 4, 2021, debut engagement at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Paper Mills’ description of the musical: “Chronicling the making of an iconic movie, Bruce tells the story of then unknown director Steven Spielberg’s beleaguered film set and the challenges that thwarted his team at every turn, including the film’s star: an uncooperative mechanical shark named Bruce. At its heart, the show proves that when we are faced with hardship and work together as a team, great things can happen.”

Bruce will close out Paper Mill’s 2020-2021 season, which also will include the postponed Dion bio-musical The Wanderer, now set for its world premiere on April 8, 2021 (the production was scuttled from this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Other 2020-2021 productions at the theater in Millburn, New Jersey, will include the murder-mystery comedy Clue, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and the musical Aida with a revised book by David Henry Hwang.

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