"Downton Abbey" Writer's Wind in the Willows Musical Sets U.K. Premiere Dates | Playbill

News "Downton Abbey" Writer's Wind in the Willows Musical Sets U.K. Premiere Dates The previously announced The Wind in the Willows, a new musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's celebrated novel that has a book by "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes and score by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins, Honk!, Betty Blue Eyes), has scheduled its world premiere in 2016.

The show is scheduled to bow at Plymouth's Theatre Royal Oct. 8-22, 2016, then at Salford's The Lowry Oct. 26-Nov. 6, prior to a planned transfer to the West End.

Developed and produced by Jamie Hendry Productions and presented in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, The Wind in the Willows is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh and lighting by Howard Harrison. In a press statement, Hendry commented, "I am delighted that we will be opening The Wind in the Willows in two of the country's most prestigious venues prior to the West End. It has been a joy working with such a distinguished team of writers and creatives to develop that rare thing – a new British musical. I can’t wait to get the show on the road and invite audiences to share in our journey next year!"

The musical tells the story of the thrill-seeking, lovable menace Mr. Toad, who is joined by Ratty, Badger and Mole to embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by his insatiable need for speed. Imprisoned for theft and with his existence under threat from the inhabitants of the Wild Wood, Toad must attempt a daring escape to defend his home, Toad Hall.

Hendry has also announced that he is sending copies of Grahame's novel to every school and library in Plymouth and Salford before the musical opens. He commented, "I am a firm believer that our most classic novels should be freely available for everyone to enjoy. I hope that readers will fall in love with Grahame's story as much as I did, which ultimately led to the commissioning of this musical."

£1m of the show's capitalisation was secured by a public investment scheme in which members of the public were able to make individual investments of up to £5,000. The money raised in this way is, according to press materials, the highest amount reported to have ever been raised through a public investment platform for a theatrical production. Full casting is still to be announced.

For further details, visit www.windinthewillowsthemusical.com

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