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.


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Misery review – Bruce Willis sighs hard in stage chiller
Actor appears to inhabit a different world from co-star Laurie Metcalf in adaptation of Stephen King novel

Alexis Soloski

16, Nov, 2015 @3:00 AM

Article image
Carrie review – Stephen King shocker gets a High School Musical makeover
A mesmerising performance by Evelyn Hoskins as the flame-haired teenage avenger fires this revival of the RSC’s slaughterhouse Cinderella

Lyn Gardner

07, May, 2015 @4:17 PM

Article image
Yippee-ki-say-what? Bruce Willis v Stephen King – quotes quiz
Bruce Willis is making his Broadway debut in an adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. Can you tell whether these quotes come from Willis’s films or King’s novels?

02, Nov, 2015 @11:05 AM

Article image
Stephen King's musical gets all-star singing cast

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, co-written with John Mellencamp, recorded with Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow

Alison Flood

19, Nov, 2012 @11:11 AM

Article image
Stephen King's Joyland pirated
Alison Flood: As ebooks of King's latest novel circulate online, German researchers pioneer controversial new DRM technology

Alison Flood

17, Jun, 2013 @12:24 PM

Article image
Stephen King's It breaks highest-grossing horror record at the US box office
Bill Skårsgard’s demonic clown slaughtered the competition, taking more than double the previous record for a horror film’s opening weekend

Guardian film and agencies

11, Sep, 2017 @11:31 AM

Article image
Rereading Stephen King, chapter 24: Misery
James Smythe: This terrifying story of imprisonment by a demented fan is one of the greatest thrillers ever written

James Smythe

30, Jul, 2013 @2:16 PM

Article image
Stephen King's Revival - exclusive book cover reveal
Help the master of horror to unveil the cover for his latest novel

Guardian staff

07, Aug, 2014 @6:00 AM

Article image
Stephen King's Doctor Sleep and the art of the honourable scare | Anouchka Grose
Anouchka Grose: Hollywood horror producers manipulate us on the back of MRI scan data, but King has the power of characterisation on his side

Anouchka Grose

19, Sep, 2013 @2:59 PM

Article image
Stephen King's It coming to cinemas
Tale of a sadistic creature who appeared as a grinning clown to terrify a small American town was the biggest selling book in the US in 1986

Ben Child

13, Mar, 2009 @12:32 PM