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Sara Gruen and Rick Elice Talk About the Inspiration and Evolution of the New Musical Water for Elephants

Theatre Mania

“Just join the circus like you wanted to,” P.T. Barnum implores in the 1980 Broadway musical Barnum. A young man named Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary student who has just suffered a tragedy, does just that in Sara Gruen’s best-selling 2006 novel Water for Elephants.

Now, almost two decades after the novel’s publication, it has been adapted into a Broadway musical, directed by Jessica Stone and featuring a score by PigPen Theatre Co. Grant Gustin, Isabella McCalla, Gregg Edelman, and a host of real-life circus performers star at the Imperial Theatre.

Gruen and the show’s librettist, three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice, recently spoke about the challenges of musicalizing the novel, what they learned from their pre-Broadway tryout in Atlanta, and what message audiences might take away from the show...READ MORE



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