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Duncan Sheik-Nell Benjamin Musical Because of Winn Dixie, Directed by John Tartaglia, Books World Premiere

Duncan Sheik-Nell Benjamin Musical Because of Winn Dixie, Directed by John Tartaglia, Books World Premiere
John Tartaglia
'Because of Winn Dixie' will play a world premiere run in Arkansas this December.

A musical adaptation of the popular children’s novel Because of Winn Dixie, with music by Tony winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and lyrics/book by Tony nominees Nell Benjamin (The Explorers Club, Legally Blonde), will have its world premiere at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Directed by Tony-nominated actor John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), the show will run from December 4, 2013 through December 29.

Based on the 2000 novel by Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn Dixie tells the heartwarming story of a 10-year-old girl named Opal who moves into a trailer park in Florida and quickly befriends a scruffy dog that she meets in a supermarket. Opal’s relationship with Winn-Dixie inspires her to strengthen her relationship with her father. The book was made into a 2005 film, starring AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson and Dave Matthews.

Human casting for the musical has not yet been announced, but two Irish Wolfhounds—Taran and Cally—have been cast in the title role of Winn-Dixie. Tony-winning animal trainer Bill Berloni, who recently lent his talents this season to the Broadway productions of Annie and A Christmas Story, will provide animal direction.

The musical received a workshop in the spring of 2012, with producers hoping to bring the show to Broadway following the out-of-town tryout.

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