The stage musical will have book and lyrics by Baddiel, who will also co-direct the show with Theatre Royal Stratford East's artistic director Kerry Michael, with additional material by Arvind Ethan David and music by Erran Baron Cohen. David, producer of the original film, will co-produce the show with Stratford East.
The production has been partly financed by a successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that saw members of the public pledge £55,110 to enable the production to go ahead. Contributors to the fund were able to choose from a wide range of rewards, ranging from free downloaded tracks from the show and tickets to see the show, to having their own personalized song written for them by Erran Baron Cohen or a limousine trip to enjoy the opening night at the theatre.
According to press materials, the show follows in the tradition of such subversive musicals as The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q and Spamalot. The show tells the story of an ordinary British Muslim man, Mahmoud Nassir, who discovers that he is adopted and his birth parents were Jewish. The resulting cultural and religious chaos leads to a comedy of identity, race, prejudice and confusion.
In a press statement, Baddiel commented, "I always had a hunch that this story could be a musical - it always seemed as if there were moments in it where it would make more sense for the characters to burst into song - and so I went and wrote some songs with the incredibly talented Erran Baron-Cohen to see if that hunch was correct. It turns out it was - there is a musical in there, a piece that draws on musicals about race and religion both old and new, the lovechild - we hope - of Fiddler On The Roof and The Book of Mormon (with a bit of Bombay Dreams thrown in); and I'm very excited that we've now got the go-ahead (for which I deeply thank those good members of the public who helped us through Kickstarter) to see that lovechild take its first steps into song, dance and comedy at Theatre Royal Stratford East."
Kerry Michael also commented, "We're very pleased that members of the public got behind our campaign to stage this exciting new musical version of David Baddiel’s 'The Infidel.' We’ve been supporting the development of this production over the past eighteen months and it’s evolved to be a funny, edgy and courageous show, which I have no doubt will be a joy to watch." To book tickets, which are on sale now, contact the box office on 20 8534 0310 or visit www.stratfordeast.com.