Duncan Sheik does do sadness.
The co-writer of the Spring Awakening score is returning with another intense yet uplifting drama dealing with the coming of age of a 14-year-old girl, in the form of a new musical based on the 2001 best-seller The Secret Life of Bees.
The musical will make its world premiere Off Broadway as part of the Atlantic Theater Company’s 2018-2019 season, the company announced Thursday. It will run from May 10 through June 23, with opening night still to be determined. Sheik is penning the music, while Lynn Nottage, who has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama twice (Ruined, Sweat), is writing the book adapted from Sue Monk Kidd’s novel.
Sam Gold, who won a Tony Award for directing Fun Home in 2015, is attached to direct. Susan Birkenhead (Working) will write the lyrics.
Set in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees follows Lily Owens, “a restless white teenager [who] struggles with her merciless father and the haunting memory of her mother’s death. When Rosaleen, her black caregiver, is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is ignited. She and Rosaleen escape on an adventure where they are taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters. While Lily tries to unlock the secrets of her past, she and Rosaleen find solace in the mesmerizing world of bees and spirituality in this extraordinary tale of awakening, fellowship and healing.”
The book remained on the New York Times best-seller list for two years, and it was adapted into a film in 2008 directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah.
The Secret Life of Bees is one of numerous world premieres set for the 2018-2019 season at the Atlantic Theater Company. Other premieres include play Blue Ridge, by Abby Rosebrock, set to star Marin Ireland, and the play The Mother, translated by Christopher Hampton and starring Isabelle Huppert.
The musical is supported in part by the National Fund for New Musicals and funding from the Hollywood Pantages.