A musical adaptation of Kate Dicamillo's popular children's book Because of Winn-Dixie is in the works with a score from Tony winner Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Nell Benjamin. Tony nominee John Tartaglia will direct an upcoming workshop of the musical in spring 2012 and producers hope to stage an out of town try-out before possibly bringing the show to Broadway. The workshop will feature a live dog named Taran, an Irish Wolfhound, in the title role. No other casting has been announced.
Because of Winn-Dixie explores the friendship between 10 year-old Opal and a stray dog she finds at the Winn-Dixie supermarket. With help from the dog, Opal becomes more confident and strengthens her relationship with her father. The book was made into a 2005 film starring Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews and Eva Marie Saint.
Sheik won two Tony Awards for his first Broadway musical Spring Awakening in 2007. He is best known for his Billboard Hot 100 single, “Barely Breathing,” which garnered a Grammy nomination in 1996. Tartaglia's Broadway credits include Shrek the Musical, Avenue Q and Beauty and the Beast and he has also appeared on TV’s Sesame Street. He also wrote the book for off-Broadway's John Tartaglia's Imaginocean.
Because of Winn-Dixie is produced by Gerald Goehring, Michael F. Mitri and Dorothy Berloni.