‘Water for Elephants’ musical to open on Broadway this spring

The stage adaptation of Sara Gruen’s circus novel comes to the Imperial Theatre following a world-premiere production with Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

Run away with the circus! Water for Elephants, a musical adaptation of Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel, will premiere on Broadway this spring. The show will play the Imperial Theatre beginning on February 24, with opening night on March 21.

The novel and musical tell the story of Jacob Jankowski, who finds himself on a train with a traveling circus and starts his life over. The circus becomes his family save for ringmaster August, who threatens to derail Jacob’s life again as Jacob falls for Marlena, an acrobat and August’s wife.

Gruen’s novel was released in 2006, becoming a New York Times bestseller. The novel also received a 2011 film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Hal Holbrook, and Christoph Waltz.

The musical adaptation features a book by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter And The Starcatcher), and a score by PigPen Theatre Co. Water for Elephants premiered at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in June. Jessica Stone, the Tony-nominated director of Kimberly Akimbo, staged the production and returns for the Broadway premiere.

The creative team, also carried over from Atlanta, includes circus designer Shana Carroll, choreographers Jesse Robb and Carroll, scenic designer Takeshi Kata, costume designer David Israel Reynoso, lighting designer Bradley King, sound designer Jessica Paz, projection designer David Bengali, hair and makeup designers Campbell Young Associates, puppet designer Camille Labarre, rigging designer Danny Zen, music supervisors and arrangers Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Benedict Braxton-Smith, and orchestrator Daryl Waters.

The cast of the Atlanta production included Stan Brown as Camel, Joe De Paul as Walter, Bryan Fenkart as August, Sara Gettelfinger as Barbara, Harry Groener as Mr. Jankowski, Isabelle McCalla as Marlena, Wade McCollum as Wade, and Ryan Vasquez as Jacob.

Casting for Water for Elephants on Broadway has yet to be announced.

Get Water for Elephants tickets now.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Photo credit: Water for Elephants in Atlanta. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Originally published on

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive New York theatre updates!

Special offers, reviews and release dates for the best shows in town.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy