Between the Lines Digital Album
A NOTE FROM JODI PICOULT & SAMANTHA VAN LEER (NOVELISTS)
Once upon a time, two novelists named Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer thought their story sang. They wanted to find a way for others to hear the music trapped within the pages, so they began to think about turning their novel into a musical. They were invited to a castle overlooking Central Park – run by a queen named Daryl Roth – to ask her for guidance. She introduced the novelists to a word wizard named Timothy Allen McDonald, who offered to turn the book into a libretto. But they still needed to find musical magicians who could take the songs they heard trapped, well, between the lines…and simmer them to the surface.
The novelists went hunting for the musical theatre equivalent of a unicorn: an all-female songwriting team. And then fate tangled them with Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel. These two musical magicians agreed to compete in a trial: to take the novel, and pull three songs from the pages within. With grace and joy and the catchiest of hooks, the magical musicians did just that.
Those three songs written by Samsel Anderson cast a mighty spell, enchanting all who listened. People would hum the songs in the shower and while driving or cooking dinner, unable to get the music and lyrics out of their heads.
But musicals take a long time to gestate, and during the next eight years, the world became a dark and frightening place – with villains peeking around corners, and plagues that descended like a dark cloud. The novelists knew that their story was more necessary than ever, an antidote of hope that glittered like a candle. The magical musicians believed it too. They crafted the rest of the score for BETWEEN THE LINES, and the word wizard gave the characters voices. The musical made audiences laugh and cry; made them remember they had the power to change their own stories for the better.
And what of the novelists and the word wizard and the musical magicians? They became a family of sorts. And, like all good fairytales, they – and BETWEEN THE LINES – lived happily ever after.
Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Novelists, Between The Lines
A NOTE FROM TIMOTHY ALLEN MCDONALD (LIBRETTIST)
It began with an email from famed producer Daryl Roth. “Would you be interested in meeting Jodi Picoult to discuss her novel BETWEEN THE LINES becoming a musical?” My response was an embarrassingly too quick, “yes!”
The novel’s premise was interesting and fresh: a teenage girl who is stuck in a story she doesn’t like connects with a fictional prince caught in the same predicament. I too was stuck in a narrative I didn’t like. I had just written Roald Dahl’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH with Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and the production process had been so tortuous that I had decided to quit writing. But I took the meeting, you know… just in case.
Jodi had written shows for her teen theatre troupe, so I assumed she’d write this one as well. After introductions, Daryl asked Jodi if she was planning on writing the musical’s book. Jodi responded with, “Oh, hell no!” Daryl opened the question to the room. My hand rocketed into the air and I screamed, “Me! Me! Choose me!” Daryl seemed receptive. Jodi seemed dubious.
Next, the question of songwriters was raised. I had concluded the music must be written by women. Small problem: female musical theatre songwriters are rarer than unicorns and pegasuses. True to form, Jodi had already commissioned female songwriters to pen three songs on spec. Who? Is? This? Jodi? Person?!
Daryl suggested Jodi and I sequester to her conference room to see if we were a match. That is when I discovered the other half of my brain that I didn’t know I was missing. Jodi will admit to having the same revelation.
That meeting began a journey in which I, like Delilah, began to live the story I wanted. The journey was made lighter by Jodi and her daughter Sammy (co-author of the novel) our mythical songwriters Kate and Elyssa, our fearless leader and director Jeff Calhoun, and our muse Arielle Jacobs. But it was thanks to the spark ignited by Daryl, that I am now living the story I want. Guess what? You can too.
Timothy Allen McDonald
Librettist, Between The Lines
Delilah McPhee, seventeen, has moved to a new town in the wake of her parents’ bitter divorce. Her father has a new family, and her mother, Grace, cleans the houses of her classmates. Bullied by queen bee Allie McAndrews and ignored by her frazzled mom, Delilah escapes into fiction –a children’s fairytale called BETWEEN THE LINES (ANOTHER CHAPTER – using the story to escape her own bleak life.
After overhearing another fight between her parents, Delilah escapes to the roof outside her bedroom window to read, wishing out loud that Prince Oliver were real. To her shock, he answers (BETWEEN THE LINES). Oliver, like Delilah, is unhappy living the story that has been written for him. Delilah is stunned – and drawn to him. Before she goes to sleep, she promises to meet Oliver tomorrow.
When the book is closed, the characters inside stop playing their fairytale roles. We meet Frump, a boy cursed to be part-dog who loves dimwitted Princess Seraphima; boozy Queen Maureen; her Lady in Waiting, feminist mermaid Ondine, an erudite Troll, and Rapskullio – the villain who’d rather paint butterflies (HAPPILY EVER AFTER HOUR). When Oliver admits he’s met someone, the other characters dismiss his joy, saying he’s stuck in a book.
Prince Oliver continues to flirt with Delilah, leading her to imagine a perfect world with him in it (TALKIN’ TO OLIVER). At school, Delilah asks the librarian if a book has ever “spoken” to her. Misinterpreting this, Ms. Winx rhapsodizes over Pride & Prejudice (MR. DARCY AND ME). Delilah continues to steal away to talk to Oliver. Meanwhile, Allie and her posse rule the school, hiding their true selves beneath false popular personas (INNER THOUGHTS). Jules, a fierce non-binary kid, encourages Delilah to ignore their bullying.
Delilah tries to confide in her mother, but winds up fighting with Grace. Delilah remembers when her mother was more present (START AGAIN TOMORROW). Delilah escapes onto her roof, where Prince Oliver charms away the tears by imagining their life together (IN MY PERFECT WORLD).
Allie McAndrews plays a game of keepaway with the fairytale (CRAZY CHEMISTRY), until Delilah grabs it and accidently hits her. Delilah is sent to school counselor Dr. DuCharme, who accuses her of bullying Allie. Delilah is suspended for hitting another student, and refuses Jules’ attempts to show solidarity.
Meanwhile, Prince Oliver is frustrated being a literary hero who cannot save the one person he wants to help. He finds Rapskullio painting butterflies onto his enchanted canvas, which magically come to life (BUTTERFLIES). Oliver asks if Rapskullio can paint anything …and if he does, will it appear?
When Grace learns Delilah is suspended, they fight (I’M NOT THROUGH) and Delilah escapes to the roof. But before Oliver can console her, Delilah shuts the book. As Delilah wishes for a better life (AWHOLE NEW STORY), she falls off her roof…landing inside the fairy tale.
The fairytale characters proudly show Delilah around (BEST DAY EVER, but Delilah wants a moment alone with Prince Oliver. They share their first kiss…and Prince Oliver proposes. They are interrupted by a trio of feminist mermaids, reminding Delilah that she doesn’t need a man to save her (DO IT FOR YOU). Realizing that wisdom, Delilah asks Oliver how she got here, He admits Rapskullio painted her into the book, but that the moment it’s opened, she will disappear. Prince Oliver asks her to dance (SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO). In the middle of their waltz, the book is opened, and they are ripped from each other’s arms.
Delilah wakes in the hospital; Grace is at her bedside. Almost losing Delilah has been a wake-up call. Grace apologizes for being so self-absorbed (LEAPS AND BOUNDS). When Delilah is alone and opens the book, Prince Oliver is dejected. Now that he has actually been with Delilah, losing her is even more devastating.
Meanwhile, in the fairytale, Frump gets the courage to tell Princess Seraphima he loves her (OUT OF CHARACTER).
Delilah returns to school. When Dr. DuCharme hears about her fall off the roof while reading, he forces her to attend the creative writing club run by Ms. Winx, so she can interact with real people and not just fictional ones. Jules is the only one other member of the club. When Allie and her minions torment Delilah again, Jules encourages Delilah to disregard them (ALLIE MCANDREWS). They brainstorm a way to get Oliver out of the book – by asking author Jessamyn Jacobs to change the ending.
Delilah arrives at Jessamyn Jacobs’ house and asks her to rewrite the story. Delilah admits that Oliver has been talking to her. As a writer, Jessamyn relates (CAN’T GET ‘EM OUT). However, Jessamyn tells Delilah the story doesn’t belong to her anymore – it belongs to everyone who’s read it.
Delilah tells Oliver that his story must stay the same, so that readers like Delilah – and everyone else – can learn from it, and change their own stories. Tearfully, Delilah and Oliver say goodbye (BETWEEN THE LINES REPRISE).
Jessamyn encourages Delilah to live the story she wants, if it’s not the story she’s in. Delilah begins to see herself not just as a reader, but as a writer (SAY IT IN OTHER WORDS). Five years later, we see Delilah: now a published author who’s found a very real love in a most unexpected place.
Music & Lyrics by Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson
Book by Timothy Allen Mcdonald
Based on the Book by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
Album Producers: Michael Croiter And Greg Anthony Rassen
- Another Chapter - Arielle Jacobs, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Between the Lines - Arielle Jacobs, Jake David Smith
- Happily Ever After Hour - Between the Lines Original Cast
- Talkin’ to Oliver - Arielle Jacobs
- Mr. Darcy and Me - Vicki Lewis
- Inner Thoughts - Hillary Fisher, Jerusha Cavazos, Sean Stack, Vicki Lewis, Will Burton
- Start Again Tomorrow - Julia Murney
- In My Perfect World - Arielle Jacobs, Jake David Smith
- Crazy Chemistry - Hillary Fisher, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Butterflies - John Rapson
- I’m Not Through - Julia Murney, Arielle Jacobs
- A Whole New Story - Arielle Jacobs, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Best Day Ever - Between the Lines Original Cast
- Do It For You - Wren Rivera, Jerusha Cavazos, Vicki Lewis, Arielle Jacobs
- Something to Hold On To - Jake David Smith
- Leaps and Bounds - Julia Murney
- Out of Character - Will Burton
- Allie McAndrews - Wren Rivera, Arielle Jacobs, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Can’t Get ‘Em Out - Vicki Lewis, Arielle Jacobs, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Between the Lines (Reprise) - Arielle Jacobs, Jake David Smith
- Say It in Other Words - Arielle Jacobs, Jake David Smith, Between the Lines Original Cast
- Inner Thoughts (Reprise) - Hillary Fisher, Jerusha Cavazos, Sean Stack, Will Burton