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'Back to the Future' time travels to London stage

By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - The 1985 hit film "Back to the Future" is headed for the London stage as a musical that is scheduled to open in the movie's 30th anniversary year, the producers said on Friday.

The film starred Michael J. Fox as a time traveler in a souped-up DeLorean who lands 30 years in the past and, among other things, introduces Chuck Berry to rock and roll.

It gave rise to two sequels, in the first of which Fox goes into the future - coincidentally to 2015, the year the musical is expected to open.

Robert Zemeckis, who directed and co-wrote the movie, will team up with co-writer Bob Gale for a new book for the musical, a joint statement from Zemeckis and Gale said.

Universal Stage Productions ("Wicked" and "Billy Elliott"), London-based producer Colin Ingram and Hollywood producer and director Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment are also involved in production, the statement said.

"The 'Back to the Future Musical' is a project that Bob Zemeckis and I have been exploring for almost 10 years," Gale said in the statement.

"We're thrilled to be at last in partnership with a creative and producing team that will create a show that is true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake."

Jamie Lloyd, a former associate director of London's renowned Donmar Warehouse, will direct. There will be new music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, with additional music from the film by Huey Lewis & The News.

"The production will include illusions, skateboarding and many other surprises that will capture the spirit of the film but freshly interpret it for a new audience," Lloyd said in the press release.

"Steven Spielberg once described the film as a musical and whilst we are incorporating some of the original, exhilarating score and songs, Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard's witty, infectious and heartfelt new songs are the perfect springboard to tell this uplifting story anew."

"Back to the Future" starred Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown. It took in $360.6 million at the box office worldwide. The total box office for the original and its two sequels was $936.6 million, the statement said.

McFly is a teenager who is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Brown. As well as finding a way back to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents unite in order to save his own existence.

(Editing by Larry King)

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