Two Midlands dates for Book Thief musical

Published: 8 February 2023
Reporter: Steve Orme

“A revelation and a joy”: The Book Thief

A stage adaptation of a musical based on Markus Zusak's best-selling novel The Book Thief, which premièred at Octagon Theatre Bolton last year, is to be presented at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and Leicester’s Curve in autumn 2023.

Co-librettists Jodi Picoult and Timothy Allen McDonald said, “it was an honour to adapt Markus Zusak’s historical novel as a musical and we’re thrilled to present it in Leicester and Coventry.

“In a time when history seems intent on repeating itself—when hate crimes throw a spotlight on the differences between us; when words are being used to harm, rather than heal; when lies are being used to fuel a war—we feel that this story is more relevant and powerful than ever.

“It’s our hope that this beautiful, moving show reminds the audience that the past has a nasty habit of not staying in the past—and it’s up to us to change that.”

Zusak added, "a writer always worries about an adaptation of their work but The Book Thief musical has been a revelation and a joy. Everyone involved has respected the novel beyond my expectations and I’ve loved watching it grow.

“Most importantly, when I saw it for the first time, I knew that it felt like the book, which is the hardest thing to achieve. The characters truly are the characters I loved when I was writing it all those years ago and the songs are just amazing. I can’t wait to see it in its newest incarnation later this year.”

The Book Thief begins at a snow-covered graveside in 1930s Germany as an illiterate girl steals an abandoned book. As her appetite for books grows, so does the Nazi regime and the shadow of death is never far away. When her foster family hides a Jewish boxer in their basement, he teaches the girl the power of words and together they plant seeds of kindness in a world set against them.

DEM Productions is to announce casting for the musical which has music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson. Lotte Wakeham directs.

Choreography is by Tom Jackson Greaves. Matthew Malone is musical director, set and costume design is by Good Teeth, lighting design is by Nic Farman, sound design is by Andy Graham, video design is by Dick Straker and puppet design is by Sam Wilde.

The Book Thief will run at the Belgrade, Coventry from Monday 11 until Saturday 16 September and Curve, Leicester from Friday 29 September until Saturday 14 October.

    Related listings

  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak, music & lyrics by Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel, book by Timothy Allen Mcdonald & Jodi Picoult