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Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire explain why Sousatzka is 'not like any other show'

Lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. and composer David Shire discuss their latest project, Garth Drabinsky's Sousatzka.
Sousatzka's Richard Maltby and David Shire with Tom Power in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

When lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. and composer David Shire were first approached by former CEO of Livent, Garth Drabinsky, to take on Sousatzka as a musical project, they were not terribly enthused. 

"Neither the novel nor the movie are particularly exciting," Maltby Jr. admits. 

The original story follows a young piano prodigy and his teacher and touches on weighty topics like the Holocaust. While the general structure of the story remains the same here, the three made some tweaks and have come up with something new and different, and as Maltby Jr. points out, that challenge sometimes produces the best rewards.

"Most of the great musicals are about something you didn't think you could make a musical out of," he says. "One thing about this is that it's not like any other show." 

Sousatzka opens tonight at Toronto's Elgin Theatre, and will head to Broadway later this year. For more information about the musical, head over to their website

— Produced by Jean Kim

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