Heeere's Johnny! St. Paul to premiere Minnesota Opera version of 'The Shining'


Stephen King's classic horror thriller "The Shining" is being adapted into an opera that will premiere in St. Paul, the Pioneer Press reports.

The opera -- which will debut in May 2016 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts -- will be based on King's original book, which has been adapted into a a film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall in 1980, and a miniseries starring Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay 1997.

The story follows alcoholic writer Jack Torrance's decent into madness as he watches over the desolate Overlook Hotel with his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny, during a brutal Colorado winter. The title "The Shining" refers to Danny's telepathic powers.

According to a news release, the story "features the classic elements of operatic conflict, notably the power of love in the face of extraordinary evil and destructive forces. It's a joy to imagine the musical form of this timeless contest."

The Minnesota Opera has commissioned composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell to write the opera. It will be directed by Eric Simonson, who directed the Minnesota Opera's "Wuthering Heights" and "The Grapes of Wrath."

King reportedly hated the film version of "The Shining," directed and co-written by the late Stanley Kubrick, but lauded the miniseries, which he wrote. The opera's artistic director, Dale Johnson, is thrilled King gave his blessing for the opera version.

"It is tremendously exciting to have received Stephen King’s permission to adapt 'The Shining' into an opera," Johnson said in a statement. "Opera has the unique ability to amplify a story's emotions, and by putting one of the most powerfully imagined stories of our time into the hands of Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, I have no doubt 'The Shining' will be an intensely thrilling horror opera."

In an interview with the Star Tribune, Johnson said Simonson first pitched the idea of a "Shining" opera to him four years ago.

“I thought, ‘are you kidding?’ ” Johnson told the newspaper. “But it’s perfect for opera, when you think about it. You have a hero who is struggling, a strong mother, both trying to keep the family safe. Today’s audiences want to see stories about them, to look on stage and see familiar characters. And Americans love horror.”

King, meanwhile, is publishing a sequel to "The Shining" on Sept. 24. Titled "Doctor Sleep," the novel finds a middle-aged Danny in a new battle of good vs. evil.

Minnesota fans who can't wait for 'The Shining" opera will have soon have a couple of other musical opportunities based on King's works playing in Minneapolis

"Carrie the Musical," based on King's classic novel, runs Oct. 4-27 at the New Century Theatre, while "Ghost Brothers," will play the State Theatre on Halloween.

King wrote the libretto for "Ghost Brothers," which will feature music by John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett.

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