A stage musical adaptation of the hit film and Oscar nominee CODA is being developed by the movie’s co-producers in partnership with the acclaimed Tony-winning Deaf West Theatre, producers announced today.
The film’s co-producers Vendôme Pictures and Pathé will team up with Deaf West to develop the adaptation. Deaf West is the Los Angeles-based theater company known for its expressive melding of sign language and spoken English to create such acclaimed productions as the Tony Award winning Big River (2004) and the Tony-nominated Spring Awakening (2016).
In a statement, DJ Kurs, Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, said, “In the movie there is a scene where the Deaf members of the Rossi family, confronted with an inaccessible school performance, take in Ruby’s song through the joy of others in the audience. This is an opportunity, then, to bring the story full circle by bringing it back to members of the Deaf community and by making the music accessible through our signed and sung live adaptation of the movie.
“It is in the mission of our organization,” Kurs continued, “to be the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing communities and we are truly excited and honored to embark on this live iteration of a story that brings together both sides of the aisle and addresses the ways that we move throughout the world.”
Vendôme Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet said, “We, with Pathé, have been humbled and honored to see the success of CODA from Sundance, through its premiere on Apple TV+ and awards buzz this season. This is a timeless story that we’ve always believed in and knew would resonate with audiences far and wide. For this reason, we are looking forward to continuing our incredible journey and bringing this universal story to life from screen to stage. We are excited at the caliber of Broadway talent interested in collaborating with us on the project.”
CODA, as the film synopsis describes, follows 17-year-old Ruby, who is the sole hearing member of a deaf family – a CODA, child of deaf adults. Her life revolves around acting as interpreter for her parents and working on the family’s struggling fishing boat every day before school with her father and older brother. But when Ruby joins her high school’s choir club, she discovers a gift for singing and soon finds herself drawn to her duet partner Miles. Encouraged by her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster to apply to a prestigious music school, Ruby finds herself torn between the obligations she feels to her family and the pursuit of her own dreams.
Production details for the stage musical, including timeline, cast and creative teams, were not announced. Deaf West, Vendôme and Pathé are currently out to stage directors, composers and writers for the stage project.
The film is directed by Siân Heder and stars Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant and Eugenio Derbez. It premiered on Apple TV+ in August 2021 following a $25 million bidding battle at the Sundance Film Festival. CODA has since earned three Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Actor in a Supporting Role (Troy Kotsur) and taken multiple nominations and wins at the 2022 BAFTA Film Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards and Writers Guild of America Awards. It was named Movie of the Year at the AFI Awards.
The film also made history being the first predominantly deaf cast to win the ensemble prize at the SAG Awards, and Kotsur is the first deaf actor to win Best Supporting Actor at the SAG, BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards.
Producers Philippe Rousselet and Fabrice Gianfermi of Vendôme and Jerome Seydoux of Pathé co-produced the film alongside Patrick Wachsberger. Vendôme also played an integral role in kick starting CODA’s journey, having co-produced the French original film, La Famille Bélier.
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