When singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth and composer Stephen Schwartz collaborated a couple of decades ago, it worked out pretty well, with a little musical called “Wicked.”
Now Chenoweth and Schwartz are teaming up again for “The Queen of Versailles,” billed as a pre-Broadway engagement, which will have its premiere at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre July 16-Aug. 18.
Chenoweth will portray Jacqueline (Jackie) Siegel, a beauty pageant director, model, actress, and socialite. F. Murray Abraham will play her husband, David, owner of a time-share business.
The musical is based on Lauren Greenfield’s 2012 documentary of the same name, which chronicled the efforts by the billionaire couple to build a $100 million, 90,000-square-foot mansion on the outskirts of Orlando — an effort complicated by the onset of the Great Recession.
Michael Arden, a Tony Award winner last year for “Parade,” will direct “The Queen of Versailles.” The cast will include Melody Butiu, recently seen in the David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical “Here Lies Love,” and Nina White, who is currently performing on Broadway in “Kimberly Akimbo.” In addition to starring in the show, Chenoweth is one of the producers of “The Queen of Versailles.”
The music and lyrics will be by Schwartz, with a book by playwright and screenwriter Lindsey Ferrentino. Her intense drama “Ugly Lies the Bone,” about a soldier trying to put her life back together after being severely injured by a bomb in Afghanistan, was presented in 2016 by Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.
“The Queen of Versailles” represents the latest show to hold a pre-Broadway premiere at the Colonial since the venerable Boston theater reopened in 2018 after several years of renovations. Owned by Emerson College, the Colonial is operated by the U.K.-based Ambassador Theatre Group.
After debuting at the Colonial in 2018, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” launched a Broadway run in July 2019. Competing in a pandemic-weakened field, “Moulin Rouge!” went on to win 10 Tony Awards in 2021, including best musical.
David Byrne’s “American Utopia” had a pre-Broadway engagement at the Colonial in 2019 before heading to Broadway. A production of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick opened at the Colonial early in 2020, but its transfer to Broadway was delayed by two years by the pandemic.
“A Beautiful Noise,” a bio-musical about Neil Diamond starring Will Swenson, premiered at the Colonial in the summer of 2022, and then began performances a few months later on Broadway, where it is still running.
Bill Damaschke, who was one of the producers on “Moulin Rouge!” and is a producer of “The Queen of Versailles,” said in a statement: “Boston is a perfect city for a world premiere and has been the first to see so many shows that went on to become Broadway hits. We’re all excited to start this show’s journey here.”
Tickets go on sale Feb. 28. For more information, go to www.emersoncolonialtheatre.com.