Two-time Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, who is about to see his project Diana on the Broadway stage, has another project in the works – a musical based on Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran The Circus, collaborating with Fun. frontman Nate Ruess.
“I’d gotten a call about this project a couple of years ago,” DiPietro said to Broadway.com. “They told me they wanted to turn If I Ran the Circus into a musical, and I’m a big Seuss fan. But then they said, ‘And Nate Ruess is writing the score.’ I was a huge admirer of his Some Nights album. I remember thinking whoever wrote this should write a musical because the music is so melodic and theatrical.”
If I Ran The Circus is a 1956 children’s picture book about a young boy named Morris and his attempt to bring his broken family back together.
“The book is really for preschoolers, so I made Morris the lead character,” DiPietro said. “I put Morris in a real world while honoring the essence of the book. I took that seed of his story and made it into a full-scale musical. It’s not what you’d expect from a Seuss musical. It’s not written in rhyming couplets; it’s written in dialogue, but with a very Seussian flair.”
The book is to be written by DiPietro, with music by Ruess and fellow songwriter Jeff Bhaske, and lyrics by DiPietro and Bhaske, and direction by Tony winner Darko Tresnjak. The show also received a recent reading.
Tony winner Darko Tresnjak (A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love and Murder) is directing the new musical, which features a book by DiPietro, music by Ruess and pop songwriter Jeff Bhaske (Jay-Z’s “Run This Town”) and lyrics by DiPietro and Bhaske. DiPietro wouldn’t open up about the cast of a recent reading, but he did say, “The lead was an 11-year-old—a young man who was terrific. He was joined by a really wonderful cast, Broadway-caliber people.”
This adaptation will join the ranks of other Dr. Seuss adaptations, including the widely loved Seussical The Musical and the more recent How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, both of which saw Broadway seasons and subsequent success in the licensing world.