Indie Hit 'The Visitor' to Get Broadway Musical Makeover

Courtesy of Visitor Holdings, LLC
Richard Jenkins and Hiam Abbass in "The Visitor"

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the team behind Pulitzer Prize winner "Next to Normal," will adapt writer-director Tom McCarthy's 2007 film starring Richard Jenkins

Tom McCarthy's Oscar-nominated 2007 indie feature The Visitor is being retooled, with the Next to Normal team of composer Tom Kitt and writer-lyricist Brian Yorkey currently at work on a musical adaptation aimed for Broadway.

The project was announced Monday by lead producer Aaron Harnick, the nephew of veteran Broadway writer, lyricist and composer Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof). While no timeline has been set for the new musical, a private industry reading is scheduled for December.

Writer-director McCarthy's film follows the ripple effects of a chance encounter between Walter Vale, a disillusioned, widowed Connecticut economics professor, with an undocumented young Syrian man and his Senegalese girlfriend, who have taken up residence in the academic's Manhattan apartment. Victims of a real estate scam, the immigrant couple have nowhere to go. Walter's kindness toward them endures through increasingly difficult circumstances and yields unexpected rewards, expanding his capacity for acceptance and change.

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The film provided a career breakout role for lead actor Richard Jenkins, landing him his first Oscar nomination. McCarthy won the Independent Spirit Award for best director. Produced by Mary Jane Skalski and Michael London, the screen drama also starred Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) and Hiam Abbass.

Kitt and Yorkey are currently represented on Broadway with If/Then, starring Idina Menzel. Their collaboration on Next to Normal, about the meltdown of a family coping with a bipolar mother, won the pair the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 2009 Tony Award for best original score.