Mary Poppins Writers Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe Reunite to Write London Musical "Wind in the Willows"

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09 Dec 2011

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe
Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Gosford Park" and Emmy Award winning creator of TV's "Downton Abbey," is to be reunited with composer-lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe for a new musical theatre adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's novel "The Wind in the Willows."

Fellowes, Stiles and Drewe previously collaborated on Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's stage version of Mary Poppins, still running at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre and in Australia. The Wind in the Willows, which will be produced by Jamie Hendry, is set to premiere in London; dates and a theatre are still to be announced.

In a press statement, Fellowes has commented, "'The Wind in the Willows' is one of our greatest classics, and as true and entertaining now as it has ever been. I am delighted and tremendously flattered to have been asked to write the book for the new musical. In fact, I suspect this is something I've been wanting to do subconsciously for many years."

Composer George Stiles says, "Ever since working with Julian on Mary Poppins, the three of us have been looking for a new project. We all celebrate our English roots as writers, and the musical possibilities of Kenneth Grahame's classic chime very strongly with me. The book itself is packed with music and songs so I can't wait to find the sounds to score Ratty, Mole, Badger, Toad and their adventures."

Lyricist Anthony Drewe adds, "I loved Kenneth Grahame's novel as a boy and it still resonates with me as an adult, but I suspect it is one of those stories that people 'think' they know. There are different depths in the writing as well as some interesting incidents often omitted in other adaptations. Together with Julian, we are looking forward to turning this classic story into a musical that, like the book, will appeal to all generations."