The book was previously adapted as a film in 1993, directed by James Ivory, which received eight Oscar nominations.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Ishiguro said, "It struck me as an intriguing idea. I am a big believer in musicals and I see no reason why my novel shouldn't make a good one. Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music shows you can set an unlikely story to music."
Ishiguro has reportedly given "free reign" to producer Simon James Collier, writer/director Chris Loveless, and Loveless' composer brother Alex. He says, "This is a small scale thing and I might feel more cautious about it if the film version hadn't been such serious, faithful adaptation. That allows for this version to be a bit more left field. There is comedy in the book and a musical could bring that out more."
In a separate report in The Stage newspaper, Ishiguro also said, "I must admit the idea of it being a musical was at first a rather challenging one. But as Sondheim has proved, it is possible to combine searching drama with music to tremendous effect, so I thought, why not let these guys run with it? I listened to Alex Loveless play some musical ideas on a piano and that convinced me it could work. Adapting this story as a musical, I could see, might have the advantage of highlighting its comedic and surreal aspects. It's an adverturous approach and I'm keen to support it."
The show will be produced by Collier, in association with Fallen Angel Theatre Company and Poppy Ben-David. A 2010 opening is planned.