Natalie Babbitt, whose successful children’s novel, Tuck Everlasting, was the basis for the short-lived Broadway musical of the same name, died October 31 at her home in Connecticut at the age of 84, according to the New York Times.
Ms. Babbitt, who was both a children's author and illustrator, penned 20 books and illustrated another 10 during an award-winning career; her many recognitions include the inaugural E.B. White Award for achievement in children's literature and a 1971 Newberry Honor.
Among her many titles are Herbert Rowbarge, Goody Hall, Knee-Knock Rise, Nellie: A Cat On Her Own, and The Moon Over High Street, but it was Tuck Everlasting — about a family's experience with immortality — that became her most successful, selling 4 million copies in the United States. The work was also translated into nearly 30 languages, adapted twice for the silver screen, and musicalized for Broadway in 2016.
The Broadway musical, which played 28 previews and 39 regular performances at the Broadhurst Theatre this past spring, featured a book by Tony Award nominee Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde) and Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Ever, The Great American Whatever), based on Ms. Babbitt's best-selling 1975 novel, with music by Chris Miller (The Burnt Part Boys), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (The Burnt Part Boys), and direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon).
The novel’s plot was expanded for the stage production, introducing new characters into the narrative; it was described as the “tale of 11-year-old Winnie Foster, a free spirit who longs for adventure. When she meets the Tucks—and discovers they hold the secret to everlasting life—she faces an extraordinary choice: return to her own family, or join the Tucks on their never-ending journey.”
Born Natalie Zane Moore in Dayton, OH, July 28, 1932, Ms. Babbitt attended Smith College. She married Samuel Fisher Babbitt in 1966. Mr. Babbitt survives her, as do three children and three grandchildren.
Watch footage from the Broadway musical version of Tuck Everlasting below: