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The Tony-nominated actress will star in the long-gestating musical adaptation of Amelie, producer Aaron Harnick announced Friday. The production will jump to a Broadway theater to be announced, following a tryout engagement at Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre from Dec. 4 through Jan. 15. Full casting, Broadway theater and dates will be announced at a later date.
The adaptation of the five-time Oscar-nominated 2001 French film — which follows an innocent young waitress coming of age in a whimsical version of modern-day Paris — is directed by Pam MacKinnon (a 2013 Tony winner for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and features a book by Craig Lucas (An American in Paris), music by Dan Messe of the Brooklyn neo-folk indie ensemble Hem, and lyrics by Messe and Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting).
Soo originated the title role in the musical’s workshop productions. The show had its world premiere last year at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it starred Samantha Barks, best known as the lovelorn Eponine in Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Les Miserables.
“Phillipa Soo began the developmental process with us, and she is a perfect match for this strong, intelligent protagonist who lives in the magical world Craig Lucas has written and Pam MacKinnon has envisioned,” said Harnick in a statement. “Daniel Messe and Nathan Tysen have written clever, heartfelt lyrics and a rich, romantic score that is beautifully sung by Phillipa. We are thrilled she is our Amelie.”
“I am excited to step back into the shoes of this character. She is joyous, complex and determined, in her own small way, to change the world for the better,” said Soo.
Amelie was a massive foreign-language hit for Miramax, grossing $33.2 million in the U.S. Its worldwide box office totaled $173.9 million.
However, when news broke of a musical adaptation in 2013, the cult film’s director Jean-Pierre Jeunet noted that he was “disgusted” by the idea — “I absolutely hate musicals and I hate Broadway. I believe that it is the epitome of mediocrity,” he said at the time — only signing off on the rights deal in order to donate the proceeds to charity.
Soo is represented by Don Buchwald & Associates and Authentic Talent and Literary Management.
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