That Thing You Do — A '60s Jukebox Musical of One-Hit Oneders
We've got Tom Hanks writing and directing this dream project, starring a pretty dreamy Broadway boy band.
Broadway really likes turning movies into musicals. Some people love it. Some people hate it. We're in it for the dream-casting opportunities. So instead of waiting for the next Notebook, or The Devil Wears Prada, or Almost Famous, or Mystic Pizza (seriously, there are a million of them), we picked one of our favorite titles and dreamed up not just a cast list, but a fully conceptualized, guaranteed blockbuster: That Thing You Do.
Broadway producers — feel free to thank us at the Tony Awards.
That Thing You Do gave us the biggest earworm of '90s cinema, and if we learned anything from the success of Once, it's that a movie built around one song that gets played over and over and over again makes a Tony-winning musical.
A classic rags-to-riches-to-obscurity tale, That Thing You Do tells the story of the Wonders, a group of mediocre musicians from lily-white Erie, Pennsylvania, whose snappy tune climbs the 1964 charts faster than you can say, "I wonder what happened to the Oneders" (that's o-nee-ders if you're asking).
This masterful take on mid-20th-century popular music culture was written and directed by Tom Hanks, so we're having him do both jobs again for the stage (his onscreen role as Playtone Records rep Mr. White will be played by the Tom Hanks of Broadway, Andy Karl). And of course, all of your favorite band members will be there: We've got Jimmy (Ryan McCartan), lead vocalist and composer of "That Thing You Do" among other forgettable songs he's gaslighted his girlfriend, Faye (Isabelle McCalla), into believing are exceptional; Lenny (Will Roland), the lovable dope on lead guitar; the Bass Player (Stark Sands), who still doesn't get a real name but does still leave the band to enlist; and Guy (John Gallagher Jr.), the jazz-drumming precursor to Ryan Gosling in La La Land who binds the Wonders together for two blissful months of stardom.
It's the period piece you love with even more reprises of the song you can't get out of your head — plus, a complete score of your other favorite one-hit-wonder chart-toppers of the 1960s! And who knows, maybe there will be a different kind of happy ending. Because Faye should probably reconsider dating any of these men and do something else with her life…anything else.
Book and direction by Tom Hanks
Additional music and lyrics by Tom Hanks and Adam Schlesinger
Choreography by Lorin Latarro (Almost Famous)
John Gallagher Jr. – Guy Patterson, drummer, works at family's appliance store, band bad boy who makes sunglasses indoors a thing
Ryan McCartan – Jimmy, lead vocalist and songwriter of "That Thing You Do," would rather promote the B-side ballad, "All My Only Dreams"
Will Roland – Lenny, guitarist, the whole musician thing isn't helping with the ladies, gets points for predicting that the Oneders was a terrible band name
Stark Sands – The Bass Player, loves Disneyland and the Marines
Isabelle McCalla – Faye Dolan, Jimmy's girlfriend-turned-costume-mistress when the Wonders go on tour, a lost soul, her journey will be explored much more thoroughly in the musical
Andy Karl – Mr. White, A&R representative for Playtone Records, the name pretty much says it all
Reneé Rapp – Tina, Guy's girlfriend in Erie, gets out before she has to watch the band play state fairs, doesn't get nearly enough credit in the movie
Reeve Carney – Chad, original drummer of what became the Wonders, broke his arm jumping over a parking meter, wasn't very talented to begin with
Bernard Purdie – Del Paxton, brilliant drummer, Guy's musical idol, our only reprieve from all the white jazz
Lovin' You Lots and Lots (The Norm Wooster Singers) – Company
Happy Together (The Turtles) – Guy, Jimmy, Lenny, the Bass Player
That Thing You Do [Ballad] – the Oneders
To Know Him Is to Love Him (The Teddy Bears) – Faye
Dominique (The Singing Nun) – female folk quartet at the Mercyhurst college talent show
That Thing You Do – the Oneders
Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf) – the Oneders and Faye
All My Only Dreams – the Oneders
That Thing You Do [Reprise] – the Oneders
The Loco-Motion (Little Eva) – Guy, Jimmy, Lenny, the Bass Player, Faye (a touring montage)
That Thing You Do [Reprise] – the Oneders
That Thing You Do [Reprise] – the Wonders
Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) (John Fred and His Playboy Band) – Guy a.k.a. "Shades"
War (Edwin Starr) – the Bass Player
Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire) – Mr. White
That Thing You Do [Reprise] – the Wonders (feat. Wolfman on bass)
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Neil Sedaka) – Jimmy and Faye
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (Steam) – Mr. White
Hey Baby (Bruce Channel) – Guy and Faye
That Thing You Do [Encore] – Company