Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical — which is based on the book series by Jeff Kinney and the 20th Century Fox films — officially opens April 15 following previews that began April 12 at Minneapolis' Children’s Theatre Company.
The new musical features a book by Kevin Del Aguila and music and lyrics by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler. Directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell, Diary is produced by special arrangement with Fox Stage Productions and Kevin McCollum.
“Creating a musical is not like manufacturing a product,” producer McCollum told Minneapolis' Star-Tribune. “It’s all alchemy. You put all the elements together, then the most important thing you need is an audience to tell you about your show. And the Children’s Theatre has one of the smartest audiences around.”
The cast is led by Ricky Falbo as Greg Heffley, David Rosenthal as Rowley, Brandon Brooks as Roderick, Tod Peterson as Dad, Autumn Ness as Mom, Reed Sigmund as Character Guy, China Brickey as Character Woman, Huxley Westemeier & Mabel Weismann as Manny, Om Angarkar as Chirag, Soren Miller as Fregley, Johannah Easley as Patty, Keegan Robinson as Joshie/Teen, Ethan Davenport as Teen and Jonah Harrison as Teen. The ensemble comprises Aliya Mukamuri, Dora Dolphin, Clair Tomari Leak, Carter Bannwarth, Mario Esteb and Nate Turcotte.
“Greg Heffley is in survival mode. All. The. Time,” according to production notes. “From bullies to his big brother to his height-challenged stature, he’s the wimpy kid we can all relate to. The beloved series hits the stage in a brand-new musical with Rowley, Manny, and of course, Rodrick joining in the mayhem. A ridiculous amount of fun for anyone who has survived, is surviving, or hopes to survive middle school, inspired by the award-winning and bestselling book series.”
Director Rockwell stated, “Jeff Kinney’s hilarious and poignant stories perfectly capture the roller coaster that is middle school: one moment you are on top of the world and the next, in the depths of despair. It’s such emotionally rich material, because every scene strives for success and ends mostly in an epic fail. And these young actors bring so much of their own present-day experiences to the musical that the audience can’t help but root for them.”
The creative team also includes co-music directors Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler, scenic designer Scott Davis, costume designer Mara Blumenfeld, lighting designer Philip Rosenberg, sound designer Sten Severson and projection designer Mike Tutaj.
Performances continue through June 5.