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Sara Bareilles and Sarah Ruhl are teaming up on a musical adaptation of ‘The Interestings’

Matt Ross is producing the new musical based on the bestselling novel by Meg Wolitzer.

(L-R) Sara Bareilles and Sarah Ruhl (Credit: Shervin Lainez; Gregory Costanzo)

Meg Wolitzer’s novel “The Interestings” is being adapted for the stage. Sara Bareilles has signed on to write the score and Sarah Ruhl will pen the book for the musical, which is being produced by Matt Ross. Additional creative team members and production details will be announced.

Released in 2013, the novel “The Interestings” follows six teenagers who meet at summer camp in the 1970s and form lifelong connections over their shared dream of leading artistic and fascinating lives. Decades later in New York City, that bond remains powerful, but things are not the same at age 30 as they were at 15. Who will buckle under the realities of life? Who will push to make their dreams come true no matter what? And what does it mean when everyone doesn’t achieve what they’d hoped to?

Bareilles is a twice-Grammy Award-winning recording artist known in Broadway circles for her Tony-nominated score to the 2016 musical “Waitress.” She earned an additional Tony nomination as a songwriter on the 2018 tuner “SpongeBob SquarePants.” In 2023, Bareilles received her first acting Tony nod for her performance as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.” Her small-screen credits include a turn as Dawn Solano in the series “Girls5eva” and three Emmy Award nominations: for songwriting and hosting duties of the 2019 Tony Awards and for her performance as Mary Magdalene in 2018’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”

Ruhl is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: for the 2005 comedy “The Clean House” and her 2010 Broadway-debut play, “In the Next Room,” for which she received a Tony nomination. Ruhl’s playwriting résumé also includes “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” “Stage Kiss,” “The Oldest Boy,” “Becky Nurse of Salem,” “Dear Elizabeth,” “How to Transcend a Happy Marriage” and “Letters from Max, a Ritual.” Ruhl collaborated with Julie Taymor and Gloria Steinem on the 2020 film “The Glorias.”
“I wrote the first song for ‘The Interestings’ before I even finished the book. To borrow a quote from one of our main characters: ‘I have fallen in love...with a group of people,’” said Bareilles in a statement. “Meg Wolitzer’s extraordinary creation, ‘The Interestings,’ was such an immediate and fascinating world of humanity and ache and adolescence and regret. I found so many moments that felt like singing. Making this musical has been a conjuring, a deep listening to the themes of the beautiful novel and a tremendously energizing creative conversation with the wild wisdom and endless talent of Sarah Ruhl as my collaborator, bringing these new friends to life in a new way. I am so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful team.”
“I am so thrilled to be adapting this novel, a hymn to yearning and being alive, with the goddess-like fount of creativity Sara Bareilles,” added Ruhl. “Meg’s brilliant book speaks to some of the biggest questions: How do we become? How do we know when our lives are of value; how do we know when we have ‘enough’? How do complicated friendships endure? The setting of an arts camp is familiar to me as a besotted former camper and sings with nostalgia. I can’t wait to share this tale of youth and growth with an audience.”
“Sara Bareilles and Sarah Ruhl are both brilliant, expansive, electrifying artists whose work I respond to so deeply,” said Wolitzer. “My novel ‘The Interestings’ is populated by a group of characters I still think about and truly miss, and the music they listen to and play when they’re young resonates in the book, so the idea of a musical adaptation is thrilling. To see and hear Sara’s and Sarah’s interpretation of my novel onstage will be an absolute joy, a novelist’s dream.”