Upon the closing of Broadway’s “Beetlejuice,” Tony Award-nominated star Alex Brightman had planned to dedicate time to writing, and he is busy doing just that. “I am developing a play that I wrote [over] the last number of years called ‘Everything Is Fine’ and I’m developing it with Cynthia Nixon. It’s been really, really, crazy, and a dream,” Brightman told Broadway News while attending the 2023 Kleban Prize ceremony, honoring lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver and librettist Ethan Lipton. Brightman performed a song from Oliver’s “35mm” as part of the prize presentation.
“Everything Is Fine” is a drama about a family of three — mother, father and son — as they approach the first anniversary of a mall shooting executed by their son and brother. Brightman describes it as “an identity play” adding, “Who are you in the blast of something like that when that wasn’t ever your identity? And now all of a sudden, three people who had made their identities their own are now that kid’s family.”
“I enjoy peeking into that quirky corner of a big event like that,” he continued. “You don’t really hear about those people. So I was very curious about the families of the perpetrator — [it] fascinated me.”
Nixon directed a workshop of the play and continues to be involved. “She’s been a big supporter of it and I think she’s going to just help shepherd it across,” said Brightman. “The dream is for her to direct it.”
Brightman and Nixon were first connected during the pandemic through a mutual representative who read the play and thought Nixon would be interested.
Brightman is a two-time Tony-nominated actor for his performances in “Beetlejuice” and “School of Rock — The Musical.” To date, his six Broadway credits are all for performing, though he has been writing for years.
Nixon is a two-time Tony-winning actor for “Rabbit Hole” and “The Little Foxes.” She is best known for her Emmy Award-winning turn on “Sex and the City,” but in recent years, Nixon has stepped into directing, for both theater and television. She directed an episode of the “Sex and the City” sequel series and has helmed theatrical projects such as Off-Broadway’s “Steve.”
“She’s such a two-feet-in-the-pool kind of creative person because she will call you in the middle of the day and go, ‘I had a thought,’” Brightman said of his collaborator. He said they are aiming for a larger workshop presentation in spring 2023.
Separately, Brightman is in the next phase of refining his musical “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” for which he is writing the book. Composer-lyricist Drew Gaspirini is crafting the score and Jenny Koons is directing. Based on Ned Vizzini’s novel of the same name about a teen struggling with depression who is later hospitalized, the musical just completed a workshop on Feb. 3.
“We’re [working] with Paper Mill Playhouse and Universal Theatrical,” Brightman said, “and the idea is, this year is going to be — hopefully — a big year of development for it, but it’s in a really good place.”