Mika Kauffman and Spicer Carr are collaborating on a musical adaptation of Kyle Lukoff’s children's book Too Bright to See, a story of trans adolescence, love, and liberation.
Kauffman, who directed and co-produced the all-TGNC Off-Broadway concert series of The Civility of Albert Cashier, is penning the book and Carr (The Four Lost Santas, The Rocking Boy) the music with both New York City-based writers collaborating on lyrics.
The musical, which grapples with grief, friendship, and identity, concerns 11-year-old Bug and is being written for audiences of all ages.
Spicer tells Playbill, "This past summer, my mother, a Florida librarian who has witnessed the purge of LGBTQ books from Florida bookshelves, gave me a copy of Lukoff's book. She made the off-hand remark that it would make a great musical. I rolled my eyes and read the book by the poolside. After I finished the first chapter, I knew she was right. I tore through the book in less than two days and immediately emailed Kyle asking for the rights. I knew that so many would identify themselves with Bug’s journey of self-discovery and grief. I personally felt a connection to Bug as I, too, lost my father figure during my queer awakening."
Kauffman adds, "To now be in the position to adapt this particular story about a trans masculine child who I identify with so closely, and present that story to the world with Spicer—it’s an honor. I can’t wait to bring so many trans artists into the room. What I’m especially excited to write about is trans joy. Trans joy is necessary, even when it feels impossible. Bug will not experience any bullying or cruelty for being transgender. The stories of our lives go beyond 'trans issues'—our joy is an indispensable tool for generations of trans people to come. What’s especially important to me is that despite the horrors we face as trans people on a daily basis, despite it all, our lives will continue to brim with joy, and we find that joy in ourselves, our communities, and our art."
There are no producers currently attached to the project, but plans are in the works for future industry presentations.
Too Bright to See, a John Newbery Honor Book for distinguished contribution to American literature, also won the Stonewall Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Medal for exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQIA+ experience.