Stephen King's Misery set for US stage adaptation

Misery … cannot be dead! New theatre adaptation of King's book to open in Pennsylvania in November

Annie Wilkes, the deranged fan who keeps a novelist prisoner and forces him to write a book in Stephen King's Misery, is set to begin a new reign of terror, this time in the theatre.

William Goldman, who penned the screenplay for the Oscar-winning film version, as well as The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, has written the new adaptation of Misery for the play, which will have a limited run at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania this autumn. The news was announced by the theatre division of Warner Brothers, Castle Rock Entertainment and Playhouse Productions.

King's 1987 novel is the story of the bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon, a wannabe literary fiction writer who kills off his romantic heroine Misery Chastain in order to move on to bigger and better things. He is rescued from a car accident by Annie Wilkes, his "number one fan", and kept a prisoner while she forces him to write a new novel that will bring Misery back to life, in one memorable scene shrieking "She can't be dead! … Misery Chastain CANNOT BE DEAD!". Although Sheldon undergoes horrific treatment at the hands of Wilkes, much of the action takes place between four walls, with the author kept prisoner in bed, making a stage adaptation of the novel much more straightforward than books such as The Stand, which journeys across America.

Will Frears, who directed the film Coach, will stage the new theatrical adaptation of King's novel. Misery was adapted for film, starring Kathy Bates as Annie, in 1990, and has also been adapted for the theatre in the past. This new play is a fresh adaptation, and Jed Bernstein, producing director of Bucks County Playhouse, said it would be "yet another significant milestone in our efforts to re-establish the playhouse as an integral and vital player in Broadway creative development". The play will run from 24 November to 8 December, but according to Variety, while "the Bucks County stint has been tagged a 'limited developmental engagement' rather than a pre-Broadway tryout ... a future life for the stage title seems certain should the [show] prove a success". No cast has yet been announced.

Contributor

Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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