‘Water For Elephants’ Musical Sets Spring Broadway Opening With Jessica Stone Directing

Water For Elephants, the new stage musical adapted from the acclaimed 2006 novel by Sara Gruen to be directed by Kimberly Akimbo director Jessica Stone, will open on Broadway this spring, producers announced today.

With a book by three-time Tony nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher) and a score by the band and performance troupe PigPen Theatre Co., Water For Elephants will begin previews on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at the Imperial Theatre, with an opening night set for Thursday, March 21.

Casting will be announced soon.

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Combining circus arts, puppetry and musical theater, Water For Elephants made an acclaimed world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre last summer. The Broadway staging will be produced by Peter Schneider, Jennifer Costello, Grove Entertainment, Frank Marshall, Isaac Robert Hurwitz, and Seth A. Goldstein.

“What excites me most about Water For Elephants is working with our enormous design and creative team, an incredible group of artists from different avenues of storytelling,” said Stone in a statement. “From Broadway veterans to puppeteers to circus artists- we have an eclectic collection of internationally acclaimed and innovative creators.”

The Tony-nominated Kimberly Akimbo director added, “What’s amazing about the culture of the circus is that you’re dependent upon one another to do a trick safely, so as a team we really all must lean on one another. If we do our jobs well and connect with our audience we will, quite literally, get the story off the page and into the air.”

The musical’s official synopsis: “After losing what matters most, a young man jumps a moving train unsure of where the road will take him and finds a new home with the remarkable crew of a traveling circus, and a life—and love—beyond his wildest dreams. Seen through the eyes of his older self, his adventure becomes a poignant reminder that if you choose the ride, life can begin again at any age.”

The novel was adapted for film in 2011, with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon starring.

The musical will feature circus design by Shana Carroll, choreography by Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by David Israel Reynoso, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Walter Trarbach, projections by David Bengali, hair & makeup design by Campbell Young Associates, puppetry design by Camille Labarre, music supervision and arrangements by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Benedict Braxton-Smith, and orchestrations by Daryl Waters.

In addition to Kimberly Akimbo, Stone’s credits include Anything Goes, The Odd Couple, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Grease. Elice’s credits include Jersey Boys, The Addams Family, Peter and the Starcatcher and The Cher Show.

Pigpen Theatre Co., which began creating theater, music and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007, have won accolades at the NYC Fringe Festival, appeared in the feature film Ricki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep, and began a three-year residency in 2021 at New York’s Little Island.

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