Novelist Jodi Picoult makes her theatrical debut with the new musical Breathe, conceived and written with playwright Timothy Allen McDonald. The show will make its world premiere virtually on OVERTURE+ May 14, with a cast recording released the same day via Broadway Records.
Breathe consists of five interlocking suites and examines the impact of COVID-19 on five different relationships. The cast includes Tony Award winners Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Shuffle Along...), Broadway couples Patti Murin (Frozen) and Colin Donnell (Violet) and Matt Doyle (Company) and Max Clayton (Moulin Rouge!), Tony nominee Denée Benton (The Great Comet), Rubén J. Carbajal, Daniel Yearwood (Hamilton), T. Oliver Reid (Once on This Island), and Josh Davis (Beautiful).
Each suite is titled after a a symptom of COVID-19 and chronicles the day-to-day realities of living in the pandemic, from parenting in quarantine to generational divides on Black Lives Matter to practicing grief rituals via Zoom.
Picoult and McDonald have created the story for each section, with the score provided by five songwriting teams: Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (Ever After), Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief) and Rebecca Murillo, Daniel Mertzlufft and Kate Leonard (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical), Tony winner Doug Besterman (Little Did I Know) and Sharon Vaughn (Hats!), and Jonathan Larson Grant finalists Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar (Five Points).
Emily Maltby, Joe Barros, Lorin Latarro, Zhailon Levingston, and Jeff Calhoun direct the suites, under the supervising direction of Tony Award nominee Calhoun (Newsies). The orchestra was produced and recorded by Dan Rudin, with orchestrations and arrangements by Lynne Shankel (Allegiance) and Meg Zervoulis (The Prom) serving as music supervisor. The production was filmed last month at 92 Street Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall.
Music Theatre International will license the musical worldwide this summer. For tickets, visit Breathe.com.