Yes, yes, I know, the "book to film to musical to TV show to web series to comic book" multimedia exploitation explosion feels a bit played out nowadays. Still, a good story is a good story, and I'm always interested when an artist in one medium dreams up a novel way to adopt a creative work from a different medium. Such is the case with Stephen Merritt and his plans for a musical version of Coraline, detailed at Vanity Fair.
Neil Gaiman created Coraline, with illustrations by Dave McKean, as a book for young readers, though it left at least one adult (our own Eugene Novikov) looking at it with "amazement bordering on disbelief." Henry Selick directed the marvelous film version, also titled Coraline, which our reviewer Jette Kernion called "gorgeously fantastic, in all senses of the word." (I loved it too.) The stage version features music and lyrics by Merritt, and 35 pianos "are the only instruments used," Vanity Fair says. Why pianos? "The piano is a symbol of domesticity and middle-class life," Merritt told VF. "The prepared piano is a symbol of the avant-garde attack on that domesticity, and the toy piano is a symbol of childhood." Musician Phyllis Chen dashes around the stage to play all 35 pianos.
Previews for Coraline began at the MCC Theater in New York last week, with the official opening set for June 1. If you can't make it to New York, a graphic novel version of the story, adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, will go on sale on June 24.