Little Mermaid's Francesca Zambello, who helmed an April 2007 workshop of the musical, will direct. The creative team will also include Michelle Lynch (choreography), Kristen Blodgette (music director/supervisor), Adrianne Lobel (sets) and Martin Pakledinaz (costumes).
In a statement Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling said, "The work of Laura Ingalls Wilder has a deep and powerful connection to the people of the Midwest. This musical fits perfectly within the Guthrie's goal to develop new work that speaks directly to this community. I'm particularly proud to welcome Francesca Zambello and a world-class artistic team to the Guthrie. Francesca's work has been seen on stages around the world and we're thrilled to have her here."
Director Zambello added, "There is no better place to develop this musical than the Guthrie in Minneapolis. I wanted to make a musical from these poignant stories the moment I rediscovered them as an adult. Reading of the exuberance of these characters as they encountered the immense power and force of the Prairie speaks to our history as a country and a people. It did in the 1880's and it does now. Our musical focuses on the independent spirit of the teenager, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her struggles to become an adult; along side the story of the land – as it becomes the American West. The Guthrie allows us to fuse together an integral part of American culture with unique theater writers of today in the heartlands where the Little House began its life."
The new musical features a book by Rachel Sheinkin, music by Rachel Portman and lyrics by Donna DiNovelli.
No Little House casting has been announced, although the April workshop in Manhattan featured Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura in the TV version of the "Prairie" books, as Ma with Patrick Swayze as Pa. The cast also included Sara Chase as Laura, Tony Yazbeck as Almanzo, Sara Ford as Nellie and Olivier Award winner Jenny Galloway as Mrs. Brewster. Little House on the Prairie is being produced at the Guthrie by special arrangement with Global Prairie Productions, Inc.
The Guthrie is located at 818 South 2nd Street in downtown Minneapolis. For more information visit www.guthrietheater.org.