Rumors of a musical adaptation of The Princess Bride have been humming for years, but in March, Disney Theatrical Productions confirmed that the project was in the works from co-book writers Rick Elice (The Cher Show, Peter and the Starcatcher, Jersey Boys) and Bob Martin (The Prom, The Drowsy Chaperone) and composer-lyricist David Yazbek.
Amidst this past Broadway season—with Martin Tony-nominated for his book of The Prom and Yazbek Tony-nominated for his Tootsie score—the trio still managed to chip away at the project.
“The book writers have completed some really nice work. I’ve completed five or six songs,” says Yazbek. “We’re going into the summer knowing that we’ve got to do a lot of work and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The beloved film from director Rob Reiner distinguished itself with its tone when it first hit the screen. The Princess Bride combines notes of farce with a buddy comedy with a life-and-death romance.
How does that translate musically?
“It’s taking, so far, from a lot of classical stuff that I like,” says Yazbek. “To some extent a weird rock vibe, and one of the songs goes into a jazz waltz at one point—yet it sounds right.”
The writer behind The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Band’s Visit, and Tootsie brings his eclectic background to write for anticipated characters that range from Princess Buttercup to Inigo Montoya. And as a lyricist, Yazbek has proven his comedy chops—though fans surely hope he’ll draw from some of the most quotable lines of the film for inspiration.
A song called “Prepare to Die” doesn’t seem inconceivable.