'Beaches' Musical to Wash Ashore in Chicago

Bette Midler in a scene from the film 'Beaches', 1988
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Bette Midler in a scene from the film "Beaches", 1988

Chicagoans, get out your hankies -- a stage musical of Beaches is coming.

The show, based on Iris Rainer Dart's 1985 novel about two best girlfriends, will begin previews in June at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. It made its world premiere last year at Virginia's Signature Theatre.

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The film version of Beaches, directed by Garry Marshall and released in 1988, starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as women whose friendship is tested by a love triangle, failed marriages, single parenthood and a fatal illness. It featured the song "The Wind Beneath My Wings."

The stage version is written by Dart and Thom Thomas, with music by David Austin and lyrics by Dart. Eric Schaeffer will direct. Previews start June 24. If all goes well, producers are eying a Broadway run.

The latest version of the musical stars Shoshana Bean and Whitney Bashor. Bean's Broadway credits include Hairspray and Wicked. Bashor was in the musical Bridges of Madison County and on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

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Dart's first foray on Broadway -- The People in the Picture, based on her Jewish European forebears - starred Donna Murphy but got mixed reviews in 2011.

The Beaches musical will be choreographed by Lorin Latarro, have scenic design by Derek McLane, lighting design by Howell Binkley, costume design by Alejo Vietti and sound design by Kai Harada.