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The tender love story that became a breakout screen vehicle for Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, The Notebook, will be adapted as a Broadway musical, to be produced by Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch in association with Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the best-selling 1996 novel.
The show is being developed by playwright Bekah Brunstetter, a writer and supervising producer on NBC’s This Is Us, and indie folk-pop artist Ingrid Michaelson, best known for the singles “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”
“The creative process works best when the material finds the artist,” said producers McCollum and Deutsch in a statement announcing the project. “That’s exactly what happened with Nicholas Sparks’ novel The Notebook. From day one, Ingrid and Bekah have had a clear vision for the show, and even at this early stage, it has proven to be an exceptionally exciting and fruitful collaboration.”
The 2004 movie directed by Nick Cassavetes starred Gosling and McAdams as a young couple who fall in love but are kept apart by barriers of wealth and class. Their story is recounted years later by an elderly man played by James Garner to Gena Rowlands as a fellow nursing home resident with dementia.
The New Line release grossed $81 million domestically and an additional $34.6 million worldwide.
“When I first heard about The Notebook potentially being turned into a musical, I was instantly drawn to the idea,” said Brunstetter, whose play The Cake will be produced off-Broadway in the spring. “The story hits home for me in two big ways: It takes place in my home state of North Carolina, and Alzheimer’s runs deep in my family.”
“I was sent a few songs Ingrid had already written for it, and that week, I spent my drives to and from work car-listening, memorizing, imagining the story unfold with music, imagining how I might layer worlds, dramatize memory,” continued Brunstetter. “Before I even knew that I had to write the book for this, it was already starting to happen in my head. The older you get, it seems, the more invisible you become, and yet, you have so much to say — so putting an older couple at the forefront of a musical is thrilling to me.”
McCollum’s extensive Broadway credits include the Tony-winning musicals Rent, In the Heights and Avenue Q. He currently is working with Steven Spielberg on the West Side Story remake and is in development with Fox Stage Productions on musicals based on The Devil Wears Prada and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Deutsch is the founder of recording labels Sh-K-Boom and Ghostlight Records, as well as senior vp theatrical and catalog development for Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.
Additional creative team and a production timeline for The Notebook will be announced at a later date.
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