Fellowes, Drewe & Stiles to Bring New WIND IN THE WILLOWS Musical to the Stage Next Fall

Fellowes, Drewe & Stiles to Bring New WIND IN THE WILLOWS Musical to the Stage Next FallAnother children's classic is headed to the theatre! DOWNTON ABBEY creator Julian Fellowes and MARY POPPINS songwriting team Anthony Drewe and George Stiles are joining forces to adapt THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS for the stage.

The Daily Mail writes that the trio is penning a new musical version of Kenneth Grahame's 1908 novel, following the adventures of Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger -- plus a new character!

"We've invented the Otter's daughter because there was no girl in it at all, and we couldn't completely leave women out," Fellowes told the Mail. "Though there's no love interest, because we must remain true to his idea, I'd rather have it all women than just invent a romance for the sake of it...It's kind of a hymn to friendship. Friendship is an emotion that gets us through the day."

Despite the new character, the story will remain fairly true to the original, per Cameron Mackintosh's request. Stiles told the Mail the musical will feature several styles of music, including punk-rock for "the baddies." Peter McKintosh has already designed some of the sets, and director Rachel Kavanaugh and producer Jamie Hendry are scouting actors for the leading roles.

This isn't the first musical adaptation of the tale -- WIND IN THE WILLOWS, with book by Jane Iredale, lyrics by Roger McGough and music by William P. Perry, earned two Tony nominations in 1986. David Gooderson wrote a musical adaptation and a short play version, and Alan Bennett, who also starred as Mole, tried his hand at the iconic story in 1991.

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS will open October 8, 2016 at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, followed by a run at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, October 28 - November 6, 2016, before trekking to the West End.

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From This Author Jessica Khan

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