Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is going to be a musical. I want to be in it. Congratulations to Taran the wolfhound, and best of luck to Duncan Sheik, John Tartaglia, Nell Benjamin, and company. This has great potential. Good luck!
NEW YORK (AP) — Plans are under way to create a musical based on Kate DiCamillo's book "Because of Winn-Dixie" with songs by Duncan Sheik and a real dog on stage.
Producers said Thursday they plan a workshop reading for the project this spring, followed by an out-of-town engagement and perhaps a spot on Broadway down the line. They've even found their star: Taran, an Irish Wolfhound, has been cast in the title role.
The musical, based on the 2000 novel, tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who gains confidence and rekindles her relationship with her father, thanks to a stray dog she finds one day at a Winn-Dixie supermarket. The novel was made into a film in 2005 starring Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews and Eva Marie Saint.
In addition to Sheik, who won a Tony Award for writing the music for "Spring Awakening," the producers have tapped Nell Benjamin to write the lyrics and story. She earned a Tony nomination of "Legally Blonde."
John Tartaglia, who made his debut as a puppeteer with "The Muppets" at age 16 and earned a Tony nomination for his puppetry in "Avenue Q," will direct the project. The budget estimate is between $6 million and $7 million.
The animal director will be Bill Berloni, who has trained dogs for more than a dozen Broadway shows and discovered the original Sandy for "Annie." He found Taran, who was adopted from a breeder in Connecticut. The musical will also have about 15 human actors.
The producers are Gerald Goehring, Michael F. Mitri and Dorothy Berloni.