The world premiere of a new stage adaptation of Brokeback Mountain is heading to the West End this Spring 2023.
Annie Proulx’s acclaimed novel of Brokeback Mountain has been adapted into a new play with music by Ashley Robinson, with songs written by The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells.
Dan Gillespie Sells is reuniting with director Jonathan Butterell for the show, following their successful collaboration on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – which is coming back to London next year.
The play stars Tony and BAFTA Award nominated Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, West Side Story film) as Jack and Academy Award nominated Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Boy Erased) as Ennis.
Dan Gillespie Sells’ original songs will be sung by acclaimed singer Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction) who plays the Balladeer (guitar/vocals), joined by her onstage Country and Western band: Sean Green (piano/MD), Meelie Traill (upright bass), Julian Jackson (chromatic harmonica), BJ Cole (pedal steel guitar).
Further casting to be announced.
Alongside Butterell in the creative team is designer Tom Pye, lighting designer David Finn, and sound designer Christopher Shutt.
Dan Gillespie Sells’ Country and Western songs, sung by “The Balladeer,” promise to give voice to the tumultuous inner landscape of the two men, and weave heartbreakingly through this intense tale of an unresistible and hidden love spanning twenty years and its tragic consequences.
Proulx’s novel was famously turned into an Oscar winning 2005 movie by Ang Lee, starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams.
The story is set in Wyoming in 1963, in a wild landscape where people live in extreme rural poverty in tight, insular and conservative communities. When Ennis and Jack take jobs on the isolated Brokeback Mountain, all their certainties of life change forever as they flounder in unexpected emotional waters of increasing depth.
The play kicks off at @sohoplace on 10 May 2023, running to 12 August 2023.
Brokeback Mountain is produced by Nica Burns with Adam Blanshay Productions, Lambert Jackson Productions, and Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment.
Book Brokeback Mountain tickets at @sohoplace theatre in London
Annie Proulx said in a press statement: “Brokeback Mountain has been recreated in several different forms, each with its own distinctive moods and impact. Ashley’s script is fresh and deeply moving, opening sight lines not visible in the original nor successive treatments.”
Ashley Robinson said: “I’m honoured to be entrusted by Annie Proulx to bring new life in new form to her timeless and universal story. A story that means so much to so many, and will surely mean as much to a whole new generation.
Dan Gillespie Sells said: “Grateful as all hell to reunite with Jonathan Butterell and to put this piece in his skilled and sensitive hands—what lucky actors, what a lucky team, and what a lucky production, all coming together under Nica Burns, in her marvel of a new space, @sohoplace. Let’s ride.”
Jonathan Butterell said: “When Ashley approached us about collaborating on Brokeback Mountain we were struck immediately by his deep connection to the world and community that Annie has so brilliantly written about over the years. He brought to the adaptation an authenticity and an understanding of these working class men, scraping to survive the harsh brutality of their environment and the insularity of thinking surrounding them, which ultimately leads to their tragedy.”
Dan Gillespie Sells said: “I have loved working on this project with Ashley and Jonathan. The material and this complex story is inspiring to compose for. I’ve really enjoyed reconnecting with a genre of music I grew up with and using it to serve the drama of each moment. Plus I get to work with some legendary artists which is such an honour and a joy.”
Nica Burns, Producer, said: “I am excited that our fourth production @sohoplace, Brokeback Mountain, is our first world premiere. In the intimate, intense auditorium that is @sohoplace, our production concentrates on the relationship between our two lead characters with Eddi Reader’s memorable voice adding to the heartbreak as the soundtrack of their lives. To have Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges, two outstanding young American actors playing Jack and Ennis is a real coup. We are thrilled.”
@sohoplace Theatre, London