Tim Burton will direct Broadway musical ''Batman'' -- He'll return to the franchise for his Gotham stage debut
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If you were going to stage a Broadway musical version of ”Batman,” who would you hire to direct it? Why not the man who revived the franchise as an operatic spectacle on the big screen? That’s what Warner Bros. is apparently doing. The New York Post reports that the studio has hired Tim Burton, the filmmaker behind ”Batman” and ”Batman Returns,” to direct the show.

The musical, which marks Warner’s first foray onto Broadway (following Disney’s success adapting its properties into long-running hit shows like ”The Lion King” and ”Beauty and the Beast”), has a book by David Ives and a score by Jim Steinman. ”We’re thrilled he’s going to do it,” Steinman said of Burton. He told the Post, ”David and I floundered around for a year trying to figure out how to musicalize ‘Batman.’ Then we looked at Tim’s original movie and thought, that’s it.”

A source tells the Post that Burton wants to restore the dark vision to the superhero saga, which critics say curdled into goofy camp in the last two installments of the film franchise, which were directed by Joel Schumacher. ”He wants to re-establish his original vision,” said the source. ”His major impulse is to redeem the soul of the ‘Batman’ series.” That could be a challenge, cleansing ”Batman” of camp by staging it as a Broadway musical, especially one scored by the songwriter best known for composing Meat Loaf’s bombastic hits.

Burton isn’t expected to start work on the musical until sometime next year, with opening night on Broadway not expected to take place until 2005. Meantime, he’s going to Alabama early next year to film ”Big Fish,” a father-son drama that stars Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney as the same character at different ages. For his part, Steinman has a musical opening on Broadway this fall that features some other bat men; it’s called ”Dance of the Vampires.”

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