A tiny blurb appeared on the Matt Murphy Productions website, announcing that the production company (which is also responsible for bringing this seasons Memphis to the Broadway stage) has acquired the stage rights the best-selling 1986 novel Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake – and that it’s heading for Broadway. Winning seven Oscars – including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Blake, who is not expected to adapt his novel for this project – the film version of Dances with Wolves was directed by Kevin Costner, who also starred alongside Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene and Rodney A. Grant.
No other details have been officially released, but glean what you can from the following snippets that have appeared in various interviews with Matt Murphy:
Dances with Wolves will be a uniquely spectacular and dramatic new musical. I envision a score that is inspired by Appalachian, folk, Civil War era, and Native American music, coupled with a production design that celebrates the spirit and ceremony of Native American culture amidst the awe-inspiring landscape of the American frontier. I am seeking a creative team who can make the epic story of Dances with Wolves sing for a new medium and a new generation of audiences.
It’s a beautiful story set within a spectacular setting so that you get lush visuals along with a gorgeous romance along with something of cultural significance. I have never seen Native Americans on stage, I’ve never seen this story on stage…. There is no way to do Dances With Wolves, which is essentially a Western on stage, without it being spectacular and epic in scope…. Our goal is to honor the legacy of Native American culture.
Some further details are also reported in the article on Playbill: the composer with work in collaboration with a Native American musical expert, in the way that Lebo M worked with Elton John and Hans Zimmer on The Lion King to create a sense of musical authenticity in the show, while the animals, which are integral to the narrative, will given to the design team to handle ‘in a creative way’.
So… who wants to speculate on possible composers and lyricists for this production? Adam Guettel? Michael John LaChiusa? Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens? Who do you think might be most suitable?