Monday, January 05, 2009

Thorn Birds, the Musical

The musical version of Colleen McCullough’s 1977 novel about an Australian priest in a forbidden relationship will begin touring this coming spring. According to CBC Arts:
The book, published in 1977, was a sensation -- chronicling a decades-long affair between a Roman Catholic priest and a woman on a sheep station in the outback.

It became the second-highest rated mini-series on U.S. television -- Roots holding the No. 1 place -- when it premiered in 1983 with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward in the title roles. The nine-part series was directed by Vancouver's Daryl Duke.
The novel has sold more than 30 million copies since its first outing.
According to The Age, this isn’t the first time The Thorn Birds has been considered for the stage, but McCullough was reluctant to release the rights for many years:
The reclusive 71-year-old author has previously guarded her popular love story, set on a sheep station in outback Australia, from all attempts to adapt it for the stage.

But she has agreed to the UK production, directed by acclaimed English theatre director Michael Bogdanov, The Observer reported on Sunday.
And, again from CBC, aspiring writers who say they don’t have time to finish their novel need to take note of McCullough’s path:
McCullough, now 71, wrote the first draft of her novel in just three months outside of her day job as a neurophysicist at Yale University.
Meanwhile, in kinda sorta related news, actor Richard Chamberlain, who set hearts thumping when he starred as the priest in a 1983 television miniseries based on The Thorn Birds, will also be treading the boards, but in an entirely different production. Florida’s Bradenton Herald reports:
Golden Globe-winning actor Richard Chamberlain will portray King Arthur in the hit musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center next year, the venue announced. The musical will run March 3-8.


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