Vanessa Hudgens is returning to her musical roots. The former High School Musical star is set to lead a staged reading of the musical adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Hudgens, who has also showcased her musical chops in live TV musicals Grease: Live and Rent: Live, will portray “middle” Allie who was played by Rachel McAdams opposite Ryan Gosling’s Noah in the 2004 film adaptation.
Hudgens will take on the role of the love-struck teen during the first reading of the season at Vassar and New York Stage & Film’s annual summer play development incubator.
Meanwhile, Tony nominee and star of Broadway's Once on This Island Hailey Kilgore will appear as "Younger Allie", while Cabaret's Andy Buckley (Cabaret) will star as "Older Allie."
Carmen Jones’ Clifton Duncan will portray “Middle Noah,” with Jagged Little Pill's Antonio Cipriano and Tony-winning Chicago star James Naughton are playing "Younger Noah" and "Older Noah."
It was announced in January that This Is Us producer and writer Bekah Burnstetter was set to pen the book, with singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson slated to compose the score for the musical adaptation of the popular romance story, based on Sparks’ 1996 novel.
“It’s so different when you’re writing for a character, when you’re writing for these other people, than when you’re writing about yourself or your own emotions,” Michaelson said of the process of writing the score for the musical. “So it’s been really interesting and really different for me to write from these perspectives. And just the idea of this undying love and of loss and memory — I can’t stop writing them. I’m going to have too many.”0comments
“When I first heard about The Notebook potentially being turned into a musical, I was instantly drawn to the idea,” Burnstetter added in her own statement. “The story hits home for me in two big ways: it takes place in my home state of North Carolina, and Alzheimer’s runs deep in my family. I was sent a few songs Ingrid had already written for it, and that week, I spent my drives to and from work car-listening, memorizing, imagining the story unfold with music, imagining how I might layer worlds, dramatize memory, and before I even knew that I had to write the book for this, it was already starting to happen in my head.”
The Notebook reading, directed by Michael Greif, will take place at Vasser College's Martel Theater on June 23.