“Lempicka,” a new musical about the painter Tamara de Lempicka, will open on Broadway next spring after a decade in development.
The show will join a Broadway season crowded with new musicals — at least a dozen are expected — at a time when the industry is facing smaller audiences, and higher costs, than it had before the coronavirus pandemic.
An Art Deco portraitist who was married and had female lovers, Lempicka was born in Poland in 1898 and lived in Russia, which she fled because of the Russian Revolution; France, which she fled because of World War II; and then the United States and Mexico. Though her art and her social life glittered for a period, she later faded from prominence, and died in 1980. In recent years, her art has sold strongly; contemporary collectors of her work include Madonna.
The show, scheduled to begin performances March 19 and to open April 14 at the Longacre Theater, features music by Matt Gould and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, who also collaborated on the book. The director is Rachel Chavkin, the Tony Award-winning director of “Hadestown,” and choreography is by Raja Feather Kelly.
“This is a massive epic, in the company of ‘Les Mis’ or ‘Evita,’ about this incredible artist who has been, for a variety of reasons, dismissed from our history books,” Chavkin said. “It’s fierce and queer and traces the first half of the 20th century through the eyes of this very complicated and ambitious and visionary woman.”
Eden Espinosa, a onetime Elphaba in “Wicked,” will star in the title role. She is currently appearing in a new musical, “The Gardens of Anuncia,” running Off Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater. The rest of the “Lempicka” cast has not yet been announced.
The musical has had two previous productions, at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts in 2018 and last year at La Jolla Playhouse in California, as well as several workshops and presentations over the years. (A previous effort to dramatize Lempicka’s life, a play called “Tamara,” ran in New York in 1987.)
“Lempicka” is being produced by Seaview, a production company founded by Greg Nobile and Jana Shea, and Jenny Niederhoffer. It is being capitalized for up to $19.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.