Coraline Musical Offers Unexpected Pianos And Casting

Illustration for article titled Coraline Musical Offers Unexpected Pianos And Casting

You've read the book, enjoyed the graphic novel and loved the movie. But can you really call yourself a true Coraline fan without going to see the musical... especially considering the 56-year-old child star?


We've told you about the musical before, but with the show's opening just over a week away, Variety talked to those involved about what audiences can expect from the show. For his part, Coraline creator Neil Gaiman is happy with the musical:

There were people who grumbled about how faithful or otherwise the film was... Now, I can point to the stage play and say, this is completely faithful to the book. On the other hand, you have to come to terms with a world in which Coraline is played by a 50-year-old lady.

That "50-year-old lady" is actually 56-year-old Jayne Houdyshell, who plays the nine-year-old eponymous star of the story beside David Greenspan, who adapted Gaiman's novel for the stage as well as starring as Coraline's Other Mother. Director Leigh Silverman isn't worried about the age difference in casting:

It's not that she's parodying a child, but that in a way she's not playing it as a child. She's just sort of playing a character who happens to be 9.

The unexpected casting, of course, is just the norm for a show dominated by pianos of different size, shapes and even purposes. Composer Stephin Merritt explains the show's use of "prepared piano":

Prepared piano was done by John Cage in the '40s and '50s... It consists of putting erasers and screws and playing cards in between the strings of the piano, and it converts the piano into an 88-key percussion orchestra. No two notes sound alike.


Currently in previews, Coraline officially opens at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York on June 1st.

'Coraline' musical comes to life [Variety]




Sorry, but I'm hung up on the role of Coraline not going to a child. The whole thing is centered around a child not understanding the adult world around her and learning to grow up. While I'm sure this woman is a capable actor, there has to be some great young talent for this. This woman's age seems distracting.

Saying a character "just happens to be 9" is ridiculous. Being nine is important to the journey of the story.