Jeff Buckley Meets Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in New Musical ‘The Last Goodbye’

“The Last Goodbye,” a musical that uses the music of Jeff Buckley for a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” will be staged as a developmental lab early next year.

Michael Kimmel conceived and adapted the musical, and the lab will be directed by two-time Tony Award-nominee Alex Timbers. Sonya Tayeh has been announced as choreographer, and musical direction will be provided by Kris Kukul. An earlier version of the production premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival back in 2010. Here’s how that festival described the musical:

A legendary love. A transcendent artist. Shakespeare’s classic verse meets the driving, passionate rock of iconic singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley in the world premiere of The Last Goodbye… An ensemble of fourteen singer/actors bring to life the lyrical beauty of two great poets set in a world of youthful angst, grandeur, and grit. Fall for Romeo and Juliet all over again in this incendiary new musical.

The musical takes its name from a song on Jeff Buckley’s only studio album, Grace, which was released in 1994. Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River in 1997 at the age of 30. Portions of the album Buckley was working on at the time of his death were compiled along with demos and live performances for the 1998 posthumous release, My Sweetheart the Drunk.

Buckley was probably best known for his songs “The Last Goodbye,” “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” and his cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” In a 2010 interview, Buckley’s mother said that she was skeptical of the project until seeing it performed.

“Suddenly I felt that across centuries you had two kindred spirits talking about the same things – love, relationships, suffering, death,” she said in a New York Times interview. “It was like having my eyes opened to Jeff’s music in a new light, a different and very natural light.”