New Musical Because Of Winn Dixie Will Get March Developmental Lab; John Tartaglia Directs

News   New Musical Because Of Winn Dixie Will Get March Developmental Lab; John Tartaglia Directs
Because of Winn Dixie, the new Broadway-bound Duncan Sheik-Nell Benjamin musical about a young girl and her canine best friend, will receive a New York City developmental lab in March, according to a casting notice.

John Tartaglia
John Tartaglia Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Based on Kate DiCamillo's children's novel of the same title, the musical has music by Tony winner Sheik (Spring Awakening) and book and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Benjamin (Legally Blonde). Gerald Goehring and Michael F. Mitri, along with Dorothy Berloni, produce the musical that has been characterized as the first Broadway production to star an actual pooch in the title role.

The developmental lab is planned for March 3-17. A previous announcement of the production stated that producers would follow the workshop with an out-of-town try-out in anticipation of a Broadway run.

Tony-honored veteran animal trainer Bill Berloni (Annie, Legally Blonde, The Wizard of Oz) is the animal director for Winn Dixie, which selected Taran, an Irish Wolfhound, to put his paws in the central role. The creative team will work to develop the musical and the role around Taran.

Tony Award-nominated Avenue Q star and "Johnny and the Sprites" star and creator John Tartaglia directs, with musical direction by Ian Eisendrath.

DeCamillo's story centers on a young girl whose life is upended when her father, a Southern preacher, makes the decision to move the family to a small Florida town. She encounters a homeless dog outside the Winn-Dixie grocery store and slowly befriends the townsfolk through her adventures with the pup she names Winn-Dixie.

"Because of Winn-Dixie" is DiCamillo's first published novel. It earned the Newbery Honor. She is also the author of "The Tale of Despereaux," which was adapted as an animated feature.

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