other adaptations of novels

In addition to Whirligig and The Secret School, Newman has received one-time rights to adapt other novels for his students to perform.  By the terms of the contracts, these scripts could not be produced by other producing groups. However, Dr. Newman is interested in seeking the necessary permissions and adapting novels at the request of schools and theatres.  Past novel adaptations are listed here as an example of the kinds of stories the playwright has adapted.


The story, set in a small town in Indiana as paved roads and car racing were making their way into American communities, centers on a brother and sister who run a garage and dream of competing with the fastest cars in the county.  Eleanor, known as “Peewee,” is taken under the wing of a quartet of society girls who take charge of the town library to bring enlightenment to the hicks and rubes.  The script had its first (and only) production at Highland High School in Salt Lake City.

A YEAR DOWN YONDER by Richard Peck

In the play, adapted from a the Newbery-winning novel, teenaged Mary Alice is sent from Chicago to attend her last year of high school in the provincial town she often visited in the summers.  She lives with Grandma Dowdel, an eccentric, fearsome, but big-hearted woman who takes care of the most irascible members of the community and struggles to keep her business her own.  Through the course of the year, Mary Alice learns to appreciate her grandmother and to accept the ways she is taking after her grandmother.  The adaptation was commissioned and performed by the Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, New York staring their artistic director Amie Brockway.


The script, adapted from the Newbery honor novel, tells how Miri and the other girls who work in the quarry on Mount Eskel are brought to the Princess Academy to be taught the rudiments of reading, writing, decorum, conversation, poise, and diplomacy.  The girls eagerly prepare for the Academy Ball where they will meet the Prince that the priests have declared must marry a girl from Mount Eskel.  While one ultimately changes her standing, all of the girls learn to improve the lives of their families and village.  The adaptation was directed by the playwright as part of the 2012 Noorda Theatre Summer Camp at Utah Valley University.

If you are interested in partnering with the playwright to seek permission to adapt a particular novel for your school or theatre, please contact him using the form below.


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