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'Little Miss Sunshine' Musical to Open Off Broadway

2006: Little Miss Sunshine
"Little Miss Sunshine."

The stage version of the Oscar-winning 2006 Fox Searchlight sleeper hit will debut in the fall at New York's Second Stage Theatre.

Despite earlier indications that the developing show was aiming for Broadway, the musical version of Little Miss Sunshine will make its New York debut as the opener of the 35th anniversary season of top-tier Off Broadway company Second Stage Theatre.

Written and directed by James Lapine with music and lyrics by William Finn, the show is based on the 2006 Sundance breakout feature, which became a hit for Fox Searchlight.

Co-directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris from a script by Michael Arndt, the film followed a messed-up family on a chaotic cross-country road trip to get their young daughter to the California finals of a junior beauty pageant. It won Oscars for Arndt's original screenplay and for best supporting actor Alan Arkin, who appeared in an ensemble that included Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Paul Dano.

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Lapine and composer Finn had a hit at Second Stage in 2005 with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later won two Tony Awards in its Broadway transfer. The team also collaborated on the musical Falsettos.

Little Miss Sunshine had a 2011 tryout at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, but has undergone further fine-tuning for its New York bow.

"It seems appropriate to kick off this landmark season with a musical about optimism and resiliency, two qualities that are crucial for any not-for-profit theatre celebrating its past while also looking to its future," said Carole Rothman, artistic director of Second Stage.

The show will begin preview performances Oct. 15, with official opening to be set for mid-November. Cast and additional creative team will be announced at a later date,