Speakeysie News Desk – June 11, 2022
A WORLD-PREMIERE MUSICAL INSPIRED BY OLIVER JEFFERS AWARD-WINNING CHILDREN’S BOOK
WITH BOOK BY MADHURI SHEKAR, MUSIC BY CHRISTIAN MAGBY, LYRICS BY CHRISTIAN ALBRIGHT, CHOREOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE SWATZIE, AND DIRECTION BY JAMIL JUDE
THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY is produced in collaboration with the High Museum of Art’s “Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books” exhibition. This collaboration is the High and the Alliance’s seventh in a series of exhibitions and theatre productions based on the work of children’s book authors and artists
ON THE HERTZ STAGE AT ALLIANCE THEATRE, JULY 13 – AUGUST 14, 2022
ATLANTA- The Alliance Theatre is pleased to announce its upcoming world-premiere musical production, THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY. Based on the witty and charming children’s book by Oliver Jeffers, THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY celebrates the joy of reading and the insatiable appetite for knowledge in a hilarious family production. The musical adaptation comes to life on the Hertz Stage at Alliance Theatre, July 13 – August 14, 2022.
Jeffers has written and illustrated more than 20 picture books in his career. From his 2004 debut “How to Catch a Star” to his more recent titles such as 2017’s “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” his work has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide. As an artist and storyteller, Jeffers crafts tales imbued with humor and humanity, with characters and creatures that have fascinated both children and adults alike.
In the Alliance’s world premiere telling of THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY, lead character Henry loves books. But he hates reading them. Because books are so full of… words! Annoying, complicated, indecipherable words! Then one day he discovers the most amazing alternative to reading – eating the books whole. By chowing down, chomping, and literally digesting the contents of whole libraries, Henry gets smarter, and smarter, and smarter… until his tummy doesn’t feel so good. A story about literally biting off more than you can chew, this delightful musical is great fun for the whole family.
The cast for THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOYfeatures Alexander Chen as Henry, Rhyn McLemore as Ms. Penn/Mom, Brad Raymond as Dad/Doctor/Game Show Host, India Tyree as Olivia/Reporter/Student/Artist, and Juan Carlos Unzueta as Rover/Jeff/Reporter/Student. Jontavious Johnson and Kyra Peirce serve as understudies.
THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY is directed by the Artistic Director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, Jamil Jude, and marks the fourth production at the Alliance by playwright Madhuri Shekar, a former winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition.
The creative team includes Choreographer Danielle Swatzie, Lyricist Christian Albright, Composer Christian Magby, Set Designer Kat Conley, Costume Designer An-lin Dauber, Sound Designer Jeremiah Davison, Lighting Designer Ben Rawson, and Music Director Chris Brent Davis. Additional production support is provided by Stage Manager Liz Campbell, Line Producer Christopher Moses, COVID Coordinator Haylee Scott, and Young Performer Supervisor Kate Walsh.
“The book is a really charming and beautifully written picture book about a boy who just wants to be one of the smart kids and doesn’t want to be left behind,” said Playwright Madhuri Shekar. “Having never done a musical before, this was a great opportunity to come back to the Alliance and bring this story to life. The songs are fantastic. They are like earworms. Once you hear them, you won’t be able to get rid of them. What Christian Magby and Christian Albright were able to do with the music is really special.”
THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY is produced in collaboration with the High Museum of Art’s Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books exhibition (April 15 – August 7, 2022) featuring 80 original drawings, sketches, and finished illustrations by the award-winning artist and children’s book author. The retrospective exhibition draws from 16 of Jeffers’ picture books spanning his career, including the wildly popular New York Times bestseller “The Day the Crayons Quit” as well as “The Incredible Book Eating Boy,” “A Child of Books,” and “Once Upon an Alphabet.” This collaboration with the High marks the seventh joint effort to celebrate a children’s book artist & author with an exhibition and production.