THE RSC will present a musical version of David Walliams’ hit book The Boy In The Dress this Christmas.
It will feature music and lyrics by Robbie Williams and top songwriter Guy Chambers, whose collaborations include massive hits Angels, Millennium, and Let Me Entertain You.
The book has been adapted by Mark Ravenhill, and the production, running from November to March in the RST, will be directed by Gregory Doran.
Walliams said: “I’m delighted to be working with the Royal Shakespeare Company to bring this, my first children’s novel, to the stage.
“It’s now ten years since The Boy in the Dress was first published and we’ve come a long way in that time. Ultimately, I wanted to write a story that encouraged people to recognise that difference can be celebrated, that it’s ok to be yourself.
“I’ve always loved musicals and, somehow, I’d always imagined this book to be made into a musical so to be working with the RSC, Mark Ravenhill and songwriting partners Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers on this new production feels like a dream collaboration.”
Ravenhill first came across The Boy in the Dress when Playwright in Residence at the RSC back in 2012.
He said: “I remember thinking that it was such a gripping, entertaining and life-affirming story with all the ingredients of a great stage show.
“The RSC has a fantastic track record of producing family shows so when David suggested making his novel into a musical, I thought, let’s go for it! Creating and commissioning new work is very much at the heart of the RSC’s mission, and a musical collaboration of this kind is the perfect celebration of all of that energy, talent and generosity coming together to create, what will hopefully be a really fantastic theatre experience for audiences of all ages.”
Both Williams and Chambers said they were excited to be working with the RSC on their first musical theatre collaboration.
In a joint statement they said: “We are both big fans of David’s books, so when he approached us about writing the soundtrack to a new musical version of The Boy in the Dress for the RSC, we were genuinely delighted.
“There’s a real freshness, cheekiness and heart to David’s writing which we’ve worked really hard to capture in the music. It’s been a really exciting and rewarding journey and we can’t wait to share the show with audiences when it premieres in Stratford this winter.”
The story follows the fortunes of 12 year-old Dennis who is his school football team’s star striker.
But when his mum leaves home life is tough for Dennis. The only reminder he has of mum is a photo of her in a beautiful yellow dress.
The question is what does a boy do who likes both football and dresses?