‘Watcher in the Woods’ Musical in Development

A musical adaptation of “Watcher in the Woods,” a supernatural horror story about two sisters, a missing girl and the creepy forest that surrounds them, is in the works.

Producer Douglas Thompson is developing the stage show, based on the 1976 novel by Florence Engel Randall. Her novel was previously adapted into a 1980 Walt Disney film starring Bette Davis, David McCallum and Kyle Richards, as well as a 2017 Lifetime remake starring Anjelica Huston and directed by Melissa Joan Hart.

Saki Kawamura will direct “Watcher in the Woods,” with music by Johanna Telander and book and lyrics by Douglas Thompson. The creative team is aiming to mount a staged workshop of the production in fall 2024.

A press release describes the musical as “an epic supernatural tale of remembrance and reconnection, combining the spine-tingling chills of ‘Goosebumps’ with the emotional heart of ‘The Secret Garden’ — a reminder that we must come together to carry on.”

The stage show features original music and is expected to align more closely with the novel than the two prior film adaptations. Set in the summer of 1976, the story follows Jan, who remains haunted by the traumatic loss of her father. She moves with her mom and sister into a creepy old house, surrounded by dark woods. Invisible forces and untethered feelings compel Jan to unlock the 50-year-old mystery of a young girl’s disappearance in the woods. As the press releases teases, “Someone, or something, wants her to know the truth: the only way out of the woods… is through.”

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