How do human beings bond with one another? Better yet, how do they bond in a city divided culturally years after one of America’s darkest days. That and more was explored in the 2007 drama film The Visitor. Some of the best known films off all-time have made their way to the stage following their debut. However, this one was not on anyone’s list until now. While at first glance it may not seem like your typical screen to stage adaptation, upon reading further into the story, you’ll see this film has the potential for a beautiful life on the stage. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the creators of Next to Normal and If/Then, are working on a stage musical adaptation of the film, The Visitor.
Producer Aaron Harnick has announced that the Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award winning team of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey are at work on a stage musical adaptation of the 2007 film, The Visitor. Harnick is developing the musical. Currently, the plan is to present the musical in a private industry reading in December.
The Visitor is an American drama film which was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. The film tells the story of Walter Vale, a widowed Connecticut College professor, who is headed to New York to present a paper at an academic conference at New York University. Upon returning to his apartment, Walter finds a young unmarried couple residing there, having rented it from someone who claimed it was theirs. Tarek, an immigrant from Syria, and Zainab who is Senegalese, are both illegal immigrants. They pack their bags but Walter offers them the apartment allowing them to remain as his guests. Over the following weeks, a friendship is born out of two men who bond over music. Their friendship is put to the test as Tarek is mistakenly arrested for turnstile jumping and faces deportation from the United States in a post 9/11 culturally divided New York City.
The film itself received a very positive reception from critics and audiences alike. The film itself went on to win the Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay and was called “One of the Year’s Best Films” by the Chicago Reader, Philadelphia Inquirer, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal and New York Post. Richard Jenkins, who portrayed Walter in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award for his work. He would go on to win the Method Fest Independent Film Festival Award for Best Actor, Moscow International Film Festival Silver St. George for Best Actor and Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. McCarthy would go on to win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and Method Fest Independent Film Festival Award for Best Director.
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey are best known for their work on the Broadway stage. Together, they created Next to Normal which premiered on Broadway in 2009 and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards including Best Musical. The musical went on to win three including Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score. The musical was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010. The show closed on Broadway in 2011 after playing 750 performances. Currently on Broadway, the pair is represented with the new musical If/Then. Starring Idina Menzel, the musical premiered last spring on Broadway and received two Tony Award nominations including one for Best Original Score. The pair has also announced they are working on stage musical adaptations for the films, Magic Mike and Freaky Friday .
Luner on Theatre will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of The Visitor as it makes its way to the stage! Currently, it seems as though the pair is writing the musical with a Broadway bow in mind sometime in the future. However, the timeframe that the production will take has not been confirmed at this time. Check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!