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Broadway’s ‘Water for Elephants’ partners with Global Sanctuary for Elephants

The new musical will help advocate for elephant welfare.

The Broadway company of “Water for Elephants,” 2024 (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

“Water for Elephants” has announced a partnership with Global Sanctuary for Elephants, a nonprofit that aims to protect, rescue and provide sanctuary for captive elephants worldwide. 

The collaboration with the Jessica Stone-directed musical will focus on not just advocacy for elephant welfare, but will spread awareness that the organization’s Brazil-based sanctuary provides space for formerly abused and neglected elephants to heal, both physically and emotionally.

“‘Water for Elephants’ upholds the integrity of our mission, taking care to portray the elephant, Rosie, in their storyline with dignity and grace,” said the Sanctuary’s co-founder Scott Blais in a statement. “We are excited to come together to drive meaningful change in the lives of these magnificent beings.”

A portion of proceeds from select “Water for Elephants” merchandise will be donated to the Sanctuary’s Adopt an Elephant Program.

Based on the 2006 novel by Sara Gruen and featuring a score by PigPen Theatre Co. and a book by Rick Elice, “Water for Elephants” follows soon-to-be-veterinarian Jacob Jankowski who joins a 1930s traveling circus. Jankowski finds himself amid a chosen family of not just humans, but also various animals, including Rosie the elephant. Instead of featuring real animals onstage, the musical uses puppetry and stagecraft to depict the circus’ menagerie, which was honored in March with a Pony Award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

The musical began previews on Feb. 24 and opened on March 21 at the Imperial Theatre. 

“Water for Elephants” is produced by Peter Schneider, Jennifer Costello, Grove Entertainment, Frank Marshall, Isaac Robert Hurwitz and Seth A. Goldstein.