A musical adaptation of The Danish Girl has announced its cast and creative team for a 2021 workshop.
The piece, based on the 2000 David Ebershoff book of the same name and subsequent 2015 film, is the fictional account of real life artist a Lili Elbe.
The story follows the Danish Painter who was one of the first people to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
Written by Katie Lam and Alex Parker and directed by Tinuke Craig, a workshop of the new musical will take place at New Theatre Peterborough between 26 and 30 April.
American transgender actress L Morgan Lee will play Lili with Laura Pitt-Pulford as Gerda, with Sharif Afifi, Kelly Agbowu, Jo Eaton-Kent, Siubhan Harrison, Chloe Hart, Chris Jenkins, Freddie King and Harrison Knights.
The project will also be supported by consultants Jake and Hannah Graf, two of the UK’s leading trans voices, and Harry Williams, one of the creatives and founders of the Trans Voices Company.
Writer Katie Lam said: “Lili’s story spoke to us. We felt we could do something special with it and it would be well suited to our writing style. Alex reached out to David Ebershoff back in 2018; he took a chance on us, and agreed to let us turn it into a musical. Not only that, he has been incredibly generous in spirit about the whole project and given us substantial artistic license with the piece.
“Inspired by discussions with our consultants and cast, we are committed to telling a joyful trans story. Lili of course struggled through the traumas inherent in transition and did not survive her final operation. But for decades she was supported, accepted and loved by her wife, siblings, parents, friends and wider community. She found a surgeon who believed and understood her, and was able to make her emotional reality a physical reality; and all a hundred years ago.”
L Morgan Lee added: “I never would have guessed, in the middle of a pandemic, I’d be in my apartment in New York on Zoom with a creative team in London discussing a new musical. I’ve dreamed of getting my hands on this kind of material in a show but the reality is Black women, and even more specifically Black, trans women are so rarely, if ever, even considered.
“This creative team has taken the time to truly see the artists they work with. They are committed to telling this story using not only a trans woman to play Lili but a variety of trans people in many of the other roles throughout the show with a cast that reflects the world we live in. The process has been such a testament to the potential of where our industry has the potential to go and I’m so honoured to be a part of that.”