The ties between page and stage are close and, often, surprising. Here are six books you can finish off with a visit to the theater this winter and spring.
Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Potted Potter , Pantages Theatre, February 12-March 3
Unlike those Gryffindor™ socks you got from your aunt, this 70-minute run through all seven Harry Potter books is decidedly unauthorized. Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner have been presenting parodic takes on the Wizarding World since 2005, when they assembled a five-minute series recap for readers waiting to buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Now Potted Potter is an epic stage show that tours the world.
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility , Lyric Arts, February 15-March 3
Kate Hamill has a knack for giving renewed life to literary classics onstage; it’s made her one of America’s most frequently produced playwrights. Her superb new Little Women premiered last fall at the Jungle Theater, and if you missed her Sense and Sensibility at the Guthrie in 2016, Lyric Arts is giving you another opportunity to see this fresh take on the Dashwood sisters in one of Austen’s most iconic stories.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , Orpheum Theatre, March 6-17
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the musical duo behind Hairspray and Mary Poppins Returns, also wrote the songs for this 2013 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 book. Yes, the song “Pure Imagination” was imported from the 1971 movie, but no, the creepy boat ride song wasn’t. So you’re safe, as long as you stay away from the blueberry bubblegum.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit , Children’s Theatre Company, March 12-April 14
The Children’s Theatre Company has an especially literary slant this season, including upcoming adaptations of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Biggest Little House in the Forest, and Matilda. The most intriguing, though, is their premiere of Greg Banks’ new Hobbit. With star Joy Dolo promising an Oprah-inspired Gandalf, this production should wash Peter Jackson’s turgid trilogy from your mind.
Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac
Cyrano de Bergerac , Guthrie Theater, March 16-May 5
Despite being a sci-fi pioneer, the 17th-century French writer Cyrano de Bergerac is ironically better known through a fictionalized story about him than for anything he actually wrote. Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play has inspired countless adaptations of its own, including the Steve Martin vehicle Roxanne (1987) and the new Netflix movie Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Read Cyrano’s satirical adventure, then see Rostand’s beguiling romance on the stage.
Metamorphoses , Guthrie Theater, April 13-May 19
If you haven’t dusted off Ovid’s poem since it was assigned in school, stick it in your bathroom reading basket before you plunge into Mary Zimmerman’s 1998 play. Inspired by Ovid’s mythopoetic episodes, Metamorphoses is set in and around an onstage pond. One high school production used a kiddie pool, but the Guthrie will doubtless get a little more lavish.