First presented at Arkansas Repertory Theatre in late 2013 under the direction of Tony nominee John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), the latest incarnation of the family-friendly musical is directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Ragtime). It runs through May 3 in Wilmington, DE. An official press opening has been set for April 18.
The pooch central to the story is played by Bowdie, who television audiences may recognize as Nana from Peter Pan Live! Bowdie is trained by Broadway veteran Bill Berloni.
A Broadway timeline for the production has not been announced, but DTC is billing the musical as "Broadway-bound." Because of Winn-Dixie was first announced late 2011.
The cast features Nicholas Barasch (Dunlap Dewberry), Evan Dampman (Stevie), Kimberly S. Fairbanks (Millie Wilkinson), Christopher Ryan Grant (Otis), Joilet Harris (Gloria), Brian Michael Hoffman (Jiggs Thomas), David Jennings (Carl Wilkinson), Maggie Lakis (Jeanne Dewberry), Kylie McVey (Opal), Carolyn Mignini (Miss Franny), Jenna Pastuszek (Callie Thomas), Anya Rothman (Sweetie Pie), Leonay Shepherd (Amanda) and Clarke Thorell (Preacher).
The design team includes Jason Hart (music supervisor/orchestrations/vocal arrangements), Allen Moyer (scenic design), Wade Laboissonniere (costume design), Rob Denton (lighting design), Dan Moses Schreier (sound design), Kristen A. Sobanski (assistant animal trainer). Based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn Dixie tells the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between a lonely girl and a dog she finds at a Winn Dixie supermarket. The novel, which won the Newbery Honor distinction as well as the 2000 Josette Frank Award and 2003 Mark Twain Award, was adapted into a film in 2005 starring Cicely Tyson, Jeff Daniels and Eva Marie Saint.
For tickets, visit delawaretheatre.org.