DEM Productions are delighted to announce that the stage adaptation of best-selling novel The Book Thief, with libretto by Jodi Picoult and Timothy Allen McDonald and music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, will be presented at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and Leicester’s Curve Theatre in autumn 2023.
THE BOOK THIEF had an extremely well-received initial presentation at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton in 2022 for which it has been nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Regional Production.
Casting to be announced.
THE BOOK THIEF begins at a snow-covered graveside in 1930s Germany, as an illiterate girl steals an abandoned book – Liesel Meminger’s first act of book thievery. As her appetite for books grows, as does the Nazi regime – with the shadow of death never far away. When her foster family hides a Jewish boxer in their basement, he teaches Liesel the power of words and together they plant seeds of kindness in a world set against them.
The new musical, based on Markus Zusak’s 16 million-copy global best-seller, is adapted by award-winning best-selling author Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper & Small Great Things) and Timothy Allen McDonald (adaptor of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka & James and the Giant Peach) with music and lyrics by Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel (Apple TV’s Central Park & Olaf’s Frozen Adventure).
Co-Librettists Jodi Picoult and Timothy Allen McDonald said
“It was an honour to adapt Markus Zusak’s historical novel, The Book Thief, as a musical, and we are thrilled to present it in Leicester and Coventry. 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.”
Author of the novel Markus Zusak said:
“A writer always worries about an adaptation of their work, but The Book Thief musical has been a revelation and a joy. 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.”
From Ramin Sabi and Emily Lunnon, DEM Productions (Producer):
“The Book Thief is a gift of a show for us at DEM, bringing together our longstanding commitment to producing new musical theatre and the opportunity to tell one of modern literature’s most beloved stories through this unique artform. We’re delighted to be sharing this spine-tingling score, exquisite storytelling, and the work of this sensational creative team with audiences in Coventry and Leicester at this early stage in the life of what we hope will become a wonderful addition to the 21st century musical canon.”
THE BOOK THIEF will be Directed by Lotte Wakeham (The Book Thief, Shirley Valentine, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), with Libretto by Jodi Picoult (Breathe, Between The Lines) & Timothy Allen McDonald (Roald Dahl’s James & The Giant Peach and Willy Wonka), Music and Lyrics by Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson (Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Central Park), Choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves (Rent, Whistle Down the Wind, Romeo & Juliet), 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 is produced by Deus Ex Machina Productions (Ride: A New Musical, Spring Awakening) with Writer’s Cage, Christopher Ketner, and Andrew Paradis, in association with Belgrade, Coventry.