EXCLUSIVE: Tony and Emmy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert)has joined forces with Victoria Lang and Ryan Bogner, producers and co-presidents of Broadway & Beyond Theatricals, for the film and stage rights to children’s novel The Magic in Changing Your Stars by author Leah Henderson.
Dixon and Warren Adams are lead producers under their WalkRunFly Productions label along with Lang and Ryan. Sharlene Martin, president of Martin Literary & Media Management, is serving as executive producer.
The book, which was published earlier this year via Sterling Children’s Books, features an all African-American cast of characters.
The story centers around 11-year-old Ailey Benjamin Lane, who is certain that he’ll land the role of the Scarecrow in his school’s production of The Wiz. But when things go terribly wrong at auditions, he confides in his Grampa that he’s ready to quit. However Grampa believes in Ailey, and to encourage him, he shares a childhood secret. As a boy, Grampa dreamed of becoming a tap dancer; he was so good that the Hollywood star and unofficial Mayor of Harlem, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, even gave him a special pair of tap shoes. Curious, Ailey tries on the shoes . . . and instantly finds himself transported to 1930s Harlem. There he meets a young street tapper and realizes that it’s his own grandfather! Can Ailey help the 12-year-old version of Grampa change his stars, in turn helping to change Ailey’s stars as well?
“I was so taken with the authenticity of the characters, the history, and the positive themes of The Magic in Changing Your Stars. The creative storytelling in this book is full of emotion, humor and inspiration. It’s a story that should be told for families everywhere” said Lang. “We are excited for the opportunity to put together a diverse team to produce this culturally relevant story.”
“There is a famous African proverb, Until the Lion learns to write, the hunter will always be glorified. I immediately thought of this when I read Leah’s book. It evoked a beautiful positive narrative about the African American family structure while paying homage to some of the great American icons. We believe that the work will have mass appeal across multiple cultures without compromising it’s cultural integrity” said Adams.
Henderson is also the author of One Shadow on the Wall, a Children’s Africana Book Award notable and a Bank Street Best Book. Her work appears in the YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America anthology and her picture books include Mamie on the Mound and the forthcoming Together We March and A Day for Rememberin’.
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