A Hit Man's Life

From Annie to The Producers, Thomas Meehan, 72, continues to spin Broadway gold

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O'Donnell, who calls his partnership with Meehan "an arranged marriage but happily a loving one," is similarly inclined to repeat their Hairspray success. The two men have completed an outline for a musical based on Waters' Cry-Baby, a 1990 film starring Johnny Depp as a bad boy wooing a good girl. Other possibilities for the writing team: a musical version of The Addams Family film and a film version of the musical Hairspray.

First, however, is a movie of The Producers musical, which Meehan and Brooks say they plan to write next year and hope to begin filming in February 2005 for release by Christmas 2005. And Meehan is committed to Rocky, for which he has already turned in a detailed outline that Stallone calls "superb."

"The beauty of being in the theater is there's no thought of retiring," says Meehan. "You don't have to. [Producer/director] George Abbott, who lived to 107, was still working on three shows when he died. There's a feeling that if you've been around long enough to have white hair, you probably know something." And given all the recent praise and good fortune, that feeling is probably a good one to follow.

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