School of Rock star Alex Brightman and songwriter Drew Gasparini, whose one-man show about the life of Double Dare host Marc Summers recently premiered in Indiana, are at work on two musical adaptations, one of the 2010 film It’s Kind of a Funny Story and the other of the 1987 children’s book The Whipping Boy.
Brightman and Gasparini told Playbill.com that they have signed a deal with Universal Studios, a distributor on It’s Kind of a Funny Story, to develop the film for the stage.
The story, billed by the duo as “a comedy about depression,” focuses on “a 16-year-old kid who is battling with his emotional turmoil,” Gasparini explains. “He’s very depressed, and he can’t really funnel that energy into something, so he seeks therapy. He becomes suicidal, and he commits himself into a psych ward at a hospital.”
Music and lyrics are by Gasparini with a book by Brightman. The two plan to stage a full reading of the musical before November.
The Whipping Boy is based on the novel by Sid Fleischman about a boy who is taken in by a royal family—but is punished whenever the family’s young prince misbehaves. The show is planned to have a full reading in August. Gasparini is writing music and lyrics, and Brightman is writing book and lyrics on the project.
According to the writing team, The Whipping Boy lives in a fantastical, whimsical world, and (in the style of Wicked) they are creating words and phrases to fit within its setting.
Brightman and Gasparini have also collaborated on Make Me Bad, a musical thriller that continues development and was previously seen as part of Pace New Musicals and the Bloomington Playwrights Project.