Neglected Musicals will bring back It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!

Before there was Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, there was It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… it’s Superman, and Neglected Musicals is bringing it back for one day only in October.

This 1966 musical (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, and book by David Newman and Robert Benton) is classic story about the battle between good and evil starring arguably the greatest superhero ever: Superman.

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman!
It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!

Originally directed for the Broadway stage by Harold Prince, Stuart Maunder is going to bring it to life at the Hayes Theatre on Monday 6 October in the Neglected Musicals way: a reading with scripts in hand, with the musical numbers sung through, after only one days rehearsal.

The cast will include Leigh Archer, Tim Dal Cortivo, Rebecca Matheson, Lucy Maunder, Elise McCann, Matt McFarlane, James Millar, and Kurt Phelan.

Neglected Musicals presents musical theatre that has never, or rarely been seen in Australia. Neglected Musicals is not for profit, where the participants are volunteers.  All proceeds from ticket sales fund the next Neglected Musical.

“As a young director I idolized Hal Prince, as an old director I still do,” said Stuart Maunder.

“When I read that as a young stage manager/producer, Prince had decided to cut his directing chops on It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Superman, this young stage manager/producer/director knew he to find out more about the show that started a directorial career that includes Cabaret, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and Sondheim musicals from Company to Merrily We Roll Along.  

“And what did I find:  a camp, silly, glorious little musical with enough heart to blow up Krypton.  With its quirky score by the creators of Bye Bye Birdie and ridiculous ‘Pop Art’ book it’s ripe for the Neglected Musicals treatment. Who doesn’t want to leap buildings at a single bound? And surely any show with a song titled ‘Pow! Bang! Zonk!’ has to be a winner. And with this glorious cast…. I can’t wait.”

The original Broadway production starred Bob Holiday as Clark Kent, Patricia Marand, Jack Cassidy and Linda Lavin. The musical received three Tony nominations for Best Actor in a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

“It’s been 18 months since the last Neglected Musical,” said producer Michelle Guthrie.

“As this will be our tenth presentation and our first at Hayes Theatre Co it’s great to present a very rare and wonderful musical from one of Broadways great collaborators, Charles Strouse.”

More cast announcements are on their way, but with only two shows ever of this little gem – at 2pm and 8pm – don’t wait around before booking your tickets.

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!

Hayes Theatre Co – Potts Point: Monday 6 October at 2pm & 8pm
Tickets $38. Bookings via

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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