Tripping on Broadway: A New Musical Explores LSD Use by Cary Grant and More

Quick: what rhymes with lysergic acid diethylamide?

In a trippy turn of events, Lincoln Center Theater said Tuesday it would bring to Broadway a new musical exploring the use of LSD in the 1950s by three celebrated individuals.

The musical, “Flying Over Sunset,” imagines encounters with the drug by Aldous Huxley, the English intellectual who wrote “Brave New World,” Clare Boothe Luce, the American playwright who became a congresswoman and an ambassador, and the actor Cary Grant. In the show’s first act, they try LSD separately — which really happened — while in the second act, they use it together — which did not.

The production has an accomplished creative team: James Lapine, who wrote the book and will direct, shared a Pulitzer Prize for “Sunday in the Park with George” and has won three Tony Awards; Tom Kitt, who wrote the music, won a Pulitzer and two Tonys for “Next to Normal”; and Michael Korie, who wrote the lyrics, was nominated for a Tony for “Grey Gardens.”

The performers will sing only at those moments when their characters are being depicted as on LSD. Mr. Lapine said writing the show had forced him “to push myself to go further out in terms of imagination.”

“Each of the characters had extraordinary lives, chose unusual paths, and were in some ways self-invented,” he said. The show, he said, “is about explorers — about people who reach a certain age, success and notoriety, and want more. They want to know what’s beyond the world they live in.”

“Flying Over Sunset” is scheduled to begin performances March 12 and to open April 16 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, which is at Lincoln Center but is a Broadway venue, and thus eligible for the Tonys.

The show will be the first original musical produced on Broadway by Lincoln Center Theater in a decade; the last was the short-lived “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2010.

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