NEW YORK — Leila Sales' breakout young adult novel "This Song Will Save Your Life" may soon have a life far from the page.
Tony Award-wining producer Kevin McCollum said Wednesday that he and Emmy Award-nominated producer Michael Novick have optioned the rights to develop the novel for stage and film.
"This book is very special. It's about a very interesting teenager with a great voice," said McCollum. "I'm really excited about it. There are a lot of ways it can go so we're in the middle of putting it together."
The story centers on a friendless high school sophomore who, after a failed suicide attempt, discovers an underground nightclub and a life-changing passion for music and DJing. It's a hymn both for those who don't fit in and the power of music.
The book, which came out in the fall of 2013, references plenty of tunes and the author has included a list of recommended songs, including The Strokes' "You Only Live Once," The Cure's "A Letter To Elise," LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends," the Clash's "Train in Vain," The Rolling Stones' "Get Off My Cloud" and Phoenix's "1901."
Sales was not able to quote from the songs in her book because she couldn't get all the rights, but McCollum hopes that won't be a problem as the project goes forward. "The music word is starting to realize how important the theater is," he said. "Whether we use some original music and some existing music, were not sure yet. We're in early days. But there are lots of possibilities."
McCollum has three Tonys for "In the Heights," ''Avenue Q" and "Rent." He has two more shows planned for this spring on Broadway: The musical "Something Rotten!" and the play "Hand to God." Novick helped create and produce "Glee."
McCollum, who has a 15-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son, said his whole family read the book and it was this was the first time he'd acquired a work for both stage and screen.
"It's a really smart character and it's a great world where everyone's trying to figure it out," he said. "It provides a reason to sing narratively as well a reason for the music to define environments. That's why I think they'll be a combination of original and existing music."
While the end result is not yet known, he said he and the team will start with table-reads and singing around a piano. "It's going to be developed very theatrically even if it ends up as a film version."
He said Sales would also have a role in the process: "This is not only a great story specifically, but it's a new American voice. She needs the spotlight shone on her because she's going to go on and do many more things."