So, what's the Dallas Theater Center's mystery musical? Read it here first

Posted on 13 Jun 2008 at 9:23am

When the Dallas Theater Center announced its 2008-09 season earlier this spring, it left off the name of one show — the last one, which it described only as “an enchanting new family musical based on a Newbery Award-winning novel” that is “a heartwarming story which will delight the entire family” written by “a composer and lyricist who currently have a hit musical running on Broadway.” We’ve waited for artistic director Kevin Moriarty to finalize the release. And waited. And waited. But so far, nothing. Well, wait no more — we’ve figured it out logically. Find out what it is — and how we worked through it — after the jump. 

 We didn’t have much to work on: Just the above statements in the press materials. The accompanying image shows a grassy field with a lone tree on it.

Well that’s actually a lot of information.

There were, at the time of the announcement, 26 musicals running on Broadway. Of those, six were revivals of shows like “A Chorus Line” whose authors aren’t what you’d call “active.” Three others were “jukebox musicals,” with songs by ABBA and the Four Seasons — teams unlikely to change gears with a children’s book. One is an Andrew Lloyd Webber show one by Elton John, another by Eric Idle and Duncan Sheik — none of whom we’d expect to find adapting a show for the DTC. Several are by people now dead, including three not elsewhere on the list. Two shows hadn’t formally opened yet, so it’s inconceivable their composers are working on another all-new show right now. Four more had their music and lyrics by solo authors, and the DTC press release implied a team.

Several were adapted from preexisting material, one of which is by composers in their late 80s. That leaves three established musicals with multiple composers and songwriters who might be expected to be working on new material.

Then there’s the question of the book on which it will be based. I have eliminated from contention — perhaps to my error — books with elaborate fantasy motifs, books that have previously been adapted to the stage, ones that rely in large part on eccentric or difficult-to-cast minority characters, those that would be hard to adopt (picture books, short stories, poetry collections) and those so old and obscure as to be unlikely to be favorites or which have become dated or politically incorrect.

Taking into account the bucolic setting and the family theme, I predict that the final show of the Dallas Theater Center’s season will be… (drum roll please) 

An adaptation of “Sarah, Plain and Tall” by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, of “Legally Blonde.”

 So what about it Kevin? Did I get it right or didn’t I? 

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