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Native Oklahoman turns children's book into musical

Richard Rosser's children's book “Piggy Nation” to have an off-Broadway run.
BY RICK ROGERS Published: March 24, 2013

Rosser adapted his children's book for the stage and wrote lyrics to Alec Wells' music. The production, which targets kids ages 3 to 10, will play at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon Sundays at a 199-seat house located in the heart of the theater district at 50th and Broadway.

Turning a 30-page children's book into a 65-minute, one-act musical required Rosser to embellish the plot and make room for musical numbers. He introduced the character Lacey Leppard, who becomes the object of Sammy's affections. But Sammy worries that he'll lose Lacey because of his father's piggy behavior.

“I didn't want it to sound like a classic children's musical with a plinky piano or an ice capades kind of feel,” Rosser said. “Alec and I hit it off immediately. We wrote what we enjoyed, which meant the musical has some guitar riffs and film noir effects.

“I was fortunate to get ‘Piggy Nation' produced in Los Angeles as well as at the Sooner Theatre in Norman. In both places, there was an amazing group of kids who did a fantastic job realizing these characters that nobody had ever seen before. It was a perfect way to workshop the musical. By the time the New York production happened, we just needed to hone a few things.”

Directed by Kim Moore with musical direction by Rona Siddiqui, the musical “Piggy Nation” features a cast of eight and two understudies. Producers are Jenna Doolittle, Catherine Russell and Piggy Nation LLC.

“When I set out to write it, I didn't want to create something that was just for kids,” Rosser said. “It needed to be fun for adults too. When all the piggy behavior comes to a head at the end of the show, the adults are laughing just as much if not more than the kids.”

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