Anne Rice's Operatic Third Novel Heading to Stage as New Musical | Playbill

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News Anne Rice's Operatic Third Novel Heading to Stage as New Musical Anne Rice's 1982 novel "Cry to Heaven," set within the operatic world of the male castrati in 18th century Italy, is in development as a new stage musical by Academy Award-nominated composer Matthew Wilder ("Mulan," Princesses).

Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre announced plans for the musical that is in development with Rice's blessing. It will have a book by Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal.

"I'm so thrilled because I love Matthew's music. I always have," Rice said in a statement. "He has written some beautiful songs based on my book. I'm excited to see his work completed, and to see my novel come to life on stage."

The dramatic story, which is threaded with gay themes, centers on male sopranos, who were castrated at a young age in order to preserve their voices. It is set within the gilded world of Venice.

The book precedes Rice's best-selling and, perhaps best-known work, "Interview with the Vampire," which launched the author's franchise within the supernatural realm. Her "Vampire Chronicles," which follow the dashing vampire Lestat, were previously condensed and adapted for Broadway as the short-lived Elton John musical Lestat.

According to the creators, "Cry to Heaven brings to life the exquisite and otherworldly society of the 18th century castrati, the delicate and alluring male sopranos whose graceful bodies and glorious voices brought them the adulation of the royal courts and the grand opera houses of Europe. Cry to Heaven follows Tonio, a teenage boy betrayed by his brother and forced into a life he never expected—a public life of celebrity in the world of the castrati, and a private life devoted to revenge." "Adapting Anne Rice's 'Cry to Heaven' as a musical is a labor of love that has been close to my heart for more years than I care to count," Wilder said in a statement. "Due to Anne's unwavering support and David Armstrong’s belief in my inspiration, along with my friends and librettists, Roy Freirich and Debrah Neal, The 5th Avenue Theatre has commissioned us to complete the adaptation. I am filled with more hope and optimism than ever that this dream is finally going to be realized."

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