The musical based on the acclaimed book will be presented at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and Leicester’s Curve Theatre in autumn 2023.
Following a run at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton in 2022, it has been confirmed that the WhatsOnStage nominated production will play at the Belgrade Theatre from the 11th to the 16th September and the Curve Theatre in Leicester from the 29th September until the 14th October. Casting has yet to be announced.
Based on Markus Zusak’s global best-seller, The Book Thief is adapted for the stage 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).
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.
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.”
Meanwhile, 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.”
The musical is directed by Lotte Wakeham (The Book Thief, Shirley Valentine, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), with 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).