Fans of The Notebook, rejoice! The 2004 Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams romance, based on Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 heartbreaker, is making the jump from the big screen to the stage in a new Broadway-bound musical.
Songwriter Ingrid Michaelson announced the big news while co-hosting the Today show’s fourth hour. The “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am” singer will be composing the score to the piece, which will be produced by Kevin McCollum (Avenue Q, In the Heights) and Kurt Deutsch (Broadway Bound, A Few Good Men) in association with Sparks.
Bekah Brunstetter, a producer and writer on This Is Us, is penning the musical’s book. She’s also the screenwriter on the upcoming film adaptation of the self-help book, The Secret, which will star Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas.
No casting or premiere dates have been announced yet, but Michaelson was excited to finally be able to spill the beans about the project on Today — explaining that she’s been working on the music for about a year and a half.
“It’s been a long process for me,” the 39-year-old musician said. “But it’s been slowly building. … I haven’t been able to talk about it because we’ve been in negotiations and getting directors and stuff. But finally, my producers signed off and said this is a perfect way to announce it.”
“Oh god, I feel like I’ve birthed a child,” she joked, taking a deep breath.
Asked by host Hoda Kotb if the songs have been coming easy, Michaelson said “weirdly, yes and no.”
“It’s so different when you’re writing for a character, when you’re writing for these other people, than when you’re writing about yourself or your own emotions,” she said. “So it’s been really interesting and really different for me to write from these perspectives. And just the idea of this undying love and of loss and memory — I can’t stop writing them. I’m going to have too many.”
Michaelson — a Staten Island native who made her Broadway debut as an actress in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 in 2017 — understands loss, having lost both her parents recently.
She also understands love, telling Kotb that she’s “in love” with boyfriend (and Nashville star) Will Chase, whom she’s been dating for almost four years now. “I loved him on Nashville too,” Michaelson said of the actor. “I thought he was great. For the first few months we were dating I was like, ‘Is this real? Am I really dating somebody on TV?’ “
Chase himself is a Tony-nominated Broadway star, with an upcoming role in the revival of Kiss Me Kate. “We’re just a Broadway couple!” Michaelson joked.
The Notebook has become one of the most beloved romances in film history. It tells the story of mill worker Noah Calhoun and rich girl Allie, lovers who fall for one another on the eve of World War II.
This June, the movie — directed by Nick Cassavetes — will celebrate its 15th anniversary.
Elsewhere on Thursday, the musical’s creative team sent statements to the press about the upcoming project.
“When I first heard about The Notebook potentially being turned into a musical, I was instantly drawn to the idea,” Brunstetter wrote. “The story hits home for me in two big ways: it takes place in my home state of North Carolina, and Alzheimer’s runs deep in my family. I was sent a few songs Ingrid had already written for it, and that week, I spent my drives to and from work car-listening, memorizing, imagining the story unfold with music, imagining how I might layer worlds, dramatize memory, and before I even knew that I had to write the book for this, it was already starting to happen in my head. The older you get, it seems, the more invisible you become, and yet, you have SO much to say — so putting an older couple at the forefront of a musical is thrilling to me. I am so excited to continue collaborating with Ingrid on bringing this beautiful story to life in a new way.”
Added Michaelson, “When I was approached about working on The Notebook I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom and cry and come back into the meeting. I have loved the movie and the story for so many years now that the idea of turning it into a musical overwhelmed me. The concept of unending devotion and love wrapped up in memory and family is something very close to my own personal life. The story sings to me so perfectly. I actually started writing that very night of the first meeting, before I even had the job! I cannot wait for the world to hear these characters come to life in a musical way.”
Said Sparks in a statement: “I am thrilled to work with Bekah and Ingrid in order to make The Notebook a reality on Broadway. They are amazingly talented, and obviously, the story is near and dear to my heart.”