Death Note Musical Workshop Held in NYC

posted on by Karen Ressler
Musical to open in Japan, Korea in 2015

A workshop for Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy's stage musical adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's manga Death Note was held in New York City on April 14. The workshop was presented in English for the benefit of the Japanese and Korean producers. The musical will be translated into Japanese and Korean and open in Japan in April 2015, and in Korea in July 2015.

The cast for the workshop included Andy Kelso as Light, Drew Gehling as L, Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli as Light's father Soichiro, Adrienne Warren (pictured right) as Misa, Eric Anderson as Ryuk, and Jackie Burns as Rem. Deborah Lew played a character listed as "Toko." Members of the ensemble included Alysha Deslorieux, Sean Jenness, Sara King, Dan Kohler, Adam Pribila, Rashidra Scott, Sara Sheperd and Jason Wooten.

The workshop cast members will not be included in the Japanese or Korean productions.

Frank Wildhorn, an American composer known for songs sung by Whitney Houston ("Where Do Broken Hearts Go?") and Natalie Cole, is scoring the Death Note musical. He previously wrote the music for the Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Civil War, Carmen, Wonderland, and The Count of Monte Cristo musicals. Tamiya Kuriyama, a recipient of the Japanese government's Medal with Purple Ribbon, is directing. Jack Murphy (The Civil War, Rudolf, Carmen, Wonderland, The Count of Monte Cristo) is writing the lyrics, and Ivan Menchell (The Cemetery Club, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bonnie and Clyde) is writing the script. The cast has yet to be announced. Jason Howland is in charge of musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations.

Japanese producer HoriPro approached Wildhorn about adapting the series into a stage musical. Wildhorn told "It's probably one of the coolest things that I've been asked to do," and "It's a different way of looking at death, the people and their gods, and it's quite an extraordinary project."

Death Note is the first major Japanese and Korean original musical co-production.

In the supernatural suspense manga, a teenager finds a notebook with which he can put people to death by writing their names. He begins a self-anointed crusade against the criminals of the world, and a cat-and-mouse game begins with the authorities and one idiosyncratic genius detective. The 12-volume manga ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 2003 to 2006.

The manga has already been adapted into three live-action films and one television anime series in Japan. Viz Media released the Death note manga, the anime series, and a spinoff novel, while its Viz Pictures affiliate released the three live-action films in American theaters.

Source: Playbill

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