regional theater

Diane Warren Wrote a Musical About Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

Diane Warren Photo: Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Between writing half of the Oscars’ Best Original Song category every year, and continuing to campaign on behalf of Ally’s sellout bops in A Star Is Born, you would think that Diane Warren might have her hands full. But no, she has somehow found the time to write songs for a whole stage musical about a timely subject. The Barrington Stage Company has announced today that it will premiere a filmed version of that new musical, which is titled The Right Girl, on November 1 in front of a live, reduced-capacity indoor audience. Warren wrote the music for The Right Girl, and the lyrics along with Louisette Geiss and Howard Kagan. The book is by Geiss and Kagan, and the show was directed by Susan Stroman. Geiss, notably, was one of the lead plaintiffs in a civil sexual-harassment suit against Harvey Weinstein.

The story of The Right Girl follows a woman named Eleanor Stark who works as a chief creative officer at a movie studio known as Ambrosia Productions. “As Eleanor rises to the top of her game working side by side for years with the industry’s most respected men,” the show’s plot description reads, “we learn that one of them has been abusing women all along.” The musical had planned to stage a regional or Off Broadway production this year, but given the restraints of the pandemic, instead opted to film the cast in a format that keeps the actors distanced and edited together into a whole. The show’s cast includes Alysha Umphress, Jenna Ushkowitz, Tony Yazbeck, Heath Calvert, Steve Rosen, Robyn Hurder, and Merle Dandridge.

The show’s plot is inspired by accounts from survivors who worked in the entertainment industry. “Only portions of their stories have been recounted in the press to date, so by presenting these women’s stories in their own words in an entertaining format like musical theater, we hope they resonate with an even bigger audience and empower other survivors to speak out,” Geiss said in a statement. “Live theater allows us to laugh, cry, and examine uncomfortable messages that are important to hear, all while managing to entertain us,” Warren also said. “I’ve always believed that anything worth saying is worth singing. Musical theater is the perfect medium to tell this story and I love that audiences will experience it with my songs. I’m so grateful to work with such important subject matter, and to have joined this creative team to mark my debut as a writer in this art form.”

Diane Warren Wrote a Musical About Sexual Harassment