Wonder, the R.J. Palacio novel adapted into a 2017 feature film starring Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay, is now heading to Broadway. Lionsgate, Broadway producer Jill Furman and author Palacio announced today that the title is being developed into a stage musical.
“I am beyond happy and grateful that Wonder is being adapted for theatre by this incredible team,” said Palacio in a statement. “What I’ve always loved the most about musical theatre is its timelessness, its ability to resonate around the world and across generations. That Wonder and its message of kindness is to become part of that canon for the ages is, quite literally, a dream come true.”
The project marks Lionsgate’s second stage production announced recently. Last month, the studio and Broadway producer Scott Delman revealed they were developing a stage version of the TV series Nashville, with all new music. The two Lionsgate projects signal what the studio says is a plan to adapt its “iconic” properties for the live stage.
Additional information about Wonder, including the complete creative team, will be announced shortly.
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Wonder tells the story of young Auggie Pullman, a boy born with facial differences, and his transition to a mainstream elementary school. Director Stephen Chbosky’s film featured a screenplay he wrote with Steven Conrad and Jack Thorne, and starred Roberts, Tremblay and Owen Wilson. According to Lionsgate, the 2017 movie grossed $300M worldwide.
Furman will be the lead producer on the stage production. She is the founder of Jill Furman Productions, with producing credits including Hamilton, In the Heights, The Drowsy Chaperone and others on Broadway, London’s West End and on the road.
“RJ’s indelible characters leapt off the page,” said Furman, “and I wept through the movie. I couldn’t help but feel there was a musicality to the characters’ voices and their story. At a time when ‘otherness’ is under attack, Wonder celebrates difference in a beautiful way that we should all admire and emulate.”
“Wonder inspired millions of fans worldwide, and bringing it to the stage presents an exciting platform to continue to share its heart-warming message to ‘choose kind’,” said Jenefer Brown, Lionsgate SVP, global live & location-based entertainment.
The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Brown, Eva Feder, Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, and Stefan Schick at Loeb & Loeb LLP and for Jill Furman Productions, by Scott Lazarus of Lazarus & Harris.
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