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Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois is being turned into a musical in huge win for sad gay people

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Illinois is the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens – and in a blow to the emotional stability of sad gay people everywhere, it’s being adapted into a stage musical.

The conceptual album, which is stylised as Sufjan Stevens Invites You to: Come on Feel the Illinoise was released in 2005, and make references to persons, places, and events related to the state of the same name, including serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr., the local holiday Casimir Pulaski Day and UFO sightings in the state.

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According to a press release for the Fisher Center, a performing arts venue in Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson in upstate New York, the world premiere of Illinois, a “work based on Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed album of the same name” will open 23 June and run until 2 July.

The musical will be directed and choreographed by Justin Peck, who won a Tony Award for choreographing Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Carousel, with music and lyrics by Sufjan Stevens and story and book by Pulitzer Prize winner Jackie Sibblies Drury.

The album cover for Illinois by Sufjan Stevens, which is to be made into a musical
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Illinois (the musical) will “transform the album into a full-length theatrical performance with a cast of virtuosic dancers, singers, and musicians.”

“Featuring new arrangements of the entire album for a live band and three voices, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, Illinois will lead us on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos.”

Sufjan Stevens is famously reclusive when it comes to his personal life; he has, however, long since been claimed by the queer community due to his music’s common theme of struggling with religion and his work on the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack.

One of his most commonly co-opted songs is “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out To Get Us!” which tells of a romance between Stevens and a male friend at a summer camp during a Methodist summer camp he attended in his youth; he has previously described the interview as “an awakening.”

The musical Illinois is premiering as part of the ‘SummerScape 2023‘ festival.

Long story short: expect queer heartbreak and lots of tears.

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