Sara Bareilles is back for seconds! The Waitress composer-lyricist-star is teaming up with Pulitzer finalist playwright Sarah Ruhl for a new musical adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's 2013 bestseller The Interestings. More creative team and production details are to be announced. Matt Ross is producing.
Wolitzer's book centers on six teenagers who meet at summer camp in the 1970s and form a lifelong bond over dreams of leading creative, inspiring lives. Decades later, all six are living in New York City, navigating their professional and personal lives as they grow together and apart.
According to press notes, Bareilles was inspired to start writing the musical's songs before even finishing the book. "To borrow a quote from one of our main characters: I have fallen in love...with a group of people," says Bareilles in a statement. “Meg Wolitzer's extraordinary creation, The Interestings, was such an immediate and fascinating world of humanity and ache and adolescence and regret. I found so many moments that felt like singing. Making this musical has been a conjuring, a deep listening to the themes of the beautiful novel and a tremendously energizing creative conversation with the wild wisdom and endless talent of Sarah Ruhl as my collaborator, bringing these new friends to life in a new way. I am so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful team."
"I am so thrilled to be adapting this novel, a hymn to yearning and being alive, with the goddess-like fount of creativity, Sara Bareilles," adds Ruhl. "Meg's brilliant book speaks to some of the biggest questions: how do we become? How do we know when our lives are of value, how do we know when we have 'enough?' How do complicated friendships endure? The setting of an arts camp is familiar to me as a besotted former camper and sings with nostalgia. I can’t wait to share this tale of youth and growth with an audience."
Bareilles officially joined the musical theatre landscape as the composer and lyricist of Waitress, which premiered on Broadway in 2015 and earned her a Tony nomination. The singer-songwriter later starred in the musical as well, including for a filmed stage performance that was released in 2023. Bareilles also played The Baker's Wife in the 2022 revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, picking up another Tony nomination for her performance.
Primarily a playwright, Ruhl's works include Eurydice, The Clean House, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), Passion Play, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and Becky Nurse of Salem. The Clean House and In the Next Room were both Pulitzer finalists, and the latter was a Best Play Tony nominee as well. The Interestings could turn out to be Ruhl's first foray into musical theatre, though she previously adapted her Eurydice into a libretto for Matthew Aucoin's opera version of the work.
"Sara Bareilles and Sarah Ruhl are both brilliant, expansive, electrifying artists whose work I respond to so deeply," says Wolitzer. "My novel The Interestings is populated by a group of characters I still think about and truly miss, and the music they listen to and play when they’re young resonates in the book, so the idea of a musical adaptation is thrilling. To see and hear Sara’s and Sarah’s interpretation of my novel onstage will be an absolute joy, a novelist’s dream."