Ryan Gossling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook, now being adapted as a musical

The Notebook Headed for the Musical Stage

Nicholas Sparks’ popular 1996 novel The Notebook and its subsequent 2004 hit movie are headed for the musical stage. Producers Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch in association with Nicholas Sparks announced today that Bekah Brunstetter and Ingrid Michaelson are developing a new musical adaptation of the best-selling novel. Additional members of the creative team will be announced at a later date.

“I am thrilled to work with Bekah and Ingrid in order to make The Notebook a reality on Broadway.” Offered Nicholas Sparks on the prospect of seeing his novel became a stage musical. “They are amazingly talented, and obviously, the story is near and dear to my heart.”

Bekah Brunstetter, who is a supervising producer on the NBC drama series This Is Us, and whose recent play The Cake is slated to open at Manhattan Theatre Club in the spring of 2019, had this to say about the prospect of The Notebook for the musical stage: “When I first heard about The Notebook potentially being turned into a musical, I was instantly drawn to the idea. 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.”

Ingrid Michaelsen, who appeared in the Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and who has enjoyed success with such songs as the platinum singles “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am”, had this to offer: “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.”

Producers Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch issued a joint statement: “The creative process works best when the material finds the artist, and that’s exactly what happened with Nicholas Spark’s novel, The Notebook. From day one, Ingrid and Bekah have had a clear vision for the show, and even at this early stage, it has proven to be an exceptionally exciting and fruitful collaboration.”

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks tells the story of a life-long romance, a testament to how the heart can overcome all obstacles. An award-winning film version of The Notebook directed by Nick Cassavetes was released in 2004, starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.