Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein is bringing Finding Neverland to the stage. A musical adaptation of Marc Forster's 2004 film will premiere on September 22nd at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, UK, where it will run through October 18th. The movie version, of course, starred Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, though for the musical, their roles will be played by stage actors Julian Overden and Rosalie Craig, with Rob Ashford assuming directorial duties and Weinstein serving as producer. Broadway World has a collection of cast photos, which you can find here.
In a recent interview with the Leicester Mercury, Weinstein explained his decision to launch the musical at Leicester -- a relatively small city with a population of around 400,000.
"A number of years ago I was in Richmond upon Thames, where we shot most of Finding Neverland with a brilliant cast of actors. We were nominated for so many Academy Awards, and there was a moment where I knew I would love to turn it into a musical. But it needed to wait until we had time to develop it and somewhere to showcase it. Curve is the most exciting space to explore. This is a big show with big sets and big production numbers.
"Curve has the technical ability to make it work and Leicester audiences are smart. By the time it reaches the West End we will have spent close to £7 million but you'll be able to see that money in a big show. It's not two people in a room, there's a full orchestra, large cast, great sets. It will be as big as any Broadway show."
Weinstein went on to say he wanted the show to debut in the UK because he felt that he owed it to the country, after having shot both The English Patient and The King's Speech there. "We owe the people of England the chance to see it first," the producer explained. "But it will play to the world - I want it out there in China, the USA, Australia - but Leicester gets the first opportunity."
Speaking to the BBC, Weinstein added that the city offered unparalleled technical advantages, as well. "Leicester has unique technical abilities, I have friends who live there and it is 55 minutes from London and it is just a perfect opportunity for a world premiere," Weinstein said. "I loved the staff, I met the team at Leicester and thought 'this is great' and I know the surrounding area. It's a great place to evolve the show with the Leicester audiences which, friends of mine who have done shows there say, are incomparable."
He also noted that there will be some definite differences between the original and its musical adaptation: "It's not the same as the film. The story is told differently, there's more humour, there's more interaction with the kids, there's more of a love story between the two main characters, and without giving too much away there are pirates coming out of the rafters and every other bit of the brilliant Curve space."
The official poster for Finding Neverland is embedded below. For schedules and ticketing information, click here.