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Screenwriter and author Julian Fellowes is teaming up with composer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drews to collaborate on a new stage musical for the West End of the beloved classic The Wind In The Willows written by Kenneth Grahame.

The Wind In The Willows was first published in 1908 and was written by Kenneth Grahame who retired from his banking job back to his home by the river in the Berkshire countryside, inspiring him to write the book of the stories he used to tell his son.  Featuring the adventures of home loving Mole, Ratty from the river, the troublesome Mr Toad and reclusive Mr Badger, the book became a classic that inspired Winnie The Pooh author, A.A. Milne to write the play Toad of Toad Hall and has since been made into various tv series and films including a musical.

Now the trio that created the hit stage version of Mary Poppins are getting back to together to work on the classic book for the stage.  The production is being developed for the West End by Jamie Hendry Productions, who worked on Legally Blonde the Musical, La Cage Aux Folles and Spring Awakening.

Fellowes commented: “The Wind in the Willows is one of our greatest classics, and as true and entertaining now as it has ever been. I am delighted and tremendously flattered to have been asked to write the book for the new musical. In fact, I suspect this is something I’ve been wanting to do subconsciously for many years.”

Stiles added: “Ever since working with Julian on Mary Poppins, the three of us have been looking for a new project. We all celebrate our English roots as writers, and the musical possibilities of Kenneth Grahame’s classic chime very strongly with me. The book itself is packed with music and songs so I can’t wait to find the sounds to score Ratty, Mole, Badger, Toad and their adventures.”

Julian Fellowes is a published novelist and Oscar winner for his movie screenplay of murder mystery Gosford Park, but is probably currently best known for being the creator and writer of Downton Abbey on ITV which is one of the highest rating series on TV.

The producers have yet to announce a venue or opening date so keeping check London Theatre Direct for further updates!

[posted by Louise, 13/12/2011]

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