‘The Book Thief’ to open as a new musical in September

The piece will be presented in Coventry and Leicester, after being showcased for the first time in Bolton last year and receiving a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Regional Production. Based on the best-selling novel, the adaptation will include a libretto Timothy Allen McDonald and Jodi Picoult and music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson.

They used to say that all great films come from a great book. Well, apparently, that seems to be the case with musicals too – or at least, with this one. Today, DEM Productions has made official that the best-selling novel The Book Thief will be heading to the UK stage – to be presented will be presented at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and Leicester’s Curve Theatre in autumn 2023. Featuring a libretto by Timothy Allen McDonald and Jodi Piccoult and music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, the show will tell the story of a forsaken little child in Nazi Germany, who will learn the power of words and kindness in a world of hostility.

“It was an honour to adapt Markus Zusak’s historical novel”, say McDonald and Piccoult. “In a time when history seems intent on repeating itself – when hate crimes throw a spotlight on the differences between us; when words are being used to harm, rather than heal; when lies are being used to fuel a war – we feel that this story is more relevant and powerful than ever. It is our hope that this beautiful, moving show reminds the audience that the past has a nasty habit of not staying in the past – and that it is up to us to change that.”

“A writer always worries about an adaptation of their work, but The Book Thief musical has been a revelation and a joy”, explains Markus Zusak. “Everyone involved has respected the novel beyond my expectations, and I’ve loved watching it grow. Most importantly, when I saw it for the first time, I knew that it felt like the book, which is the hardest thing to achieve. The characters truly are the characters I loved when I was writing it all those years ago, and the songs are just amazing. I can’t wait to see it in its newest incarnation later this year.”

Directed by Lotte Wakeham (Shirley Valentine, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), the creative credits are completed by Tom Jackson Greaves’s Choreography (Rent, Whistle Down the Wind, Romeo & Juliet), as well as Orchestrations & Arrangements, Musical Supervision & Musical Director by Matthew Malone (Peter Pan, Carousel), Set & Costume Design by Good Teeth (Little Shop of Horrors, Jack and the Beanstalk), Lighting Design by Nic Farman (Allegiance, The Diary of a CEO Live), Sound Design by Andy Graham (Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz), Video Design by Dick Straker (A Monster Calls, Peer Gynt), Puppet Design by Sam Wilde (A Christmas Carol, The Fir Tree), Casting by Abby Galvin for Jessica Ronane Casting (The Glass Menagerie, Girl from the North Country) and Production Management by Andy Fox and Lee Batty for Setting Line Production Management (Newsies,The Cher Show).

The Book Thief will begin performances on 11 September 2023. Tickets are available on the following link.

By Guillermo Nazara

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