The stage adaptation of the Flaming Lips’ album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is scheduled to premiere later this year in Los Angeles.
The musical has been in the works for five years, originally being announced in March 2007. At that time, the show was being produced by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network), who later dropped out. Des McAnuff (The Who’s Tommy, Jersey Boys) was the original director and has now also taken on the writing of the show.
Director and writer McAnuff released the following statement on the situation with Sorkin:
“Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips and I have been working on Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots for some time. Aaron Sorkin initially planned to write a book for the musical, but when it became clear that the musical would be ‘sung through,’ Aaron turned his attention to other projects. In the meantime, Aaron and I have started work on another play. Wayne and I continue to fine tune the libretto and score for the musical which will go into rehearsal in La Jolla in the middle of September. We are both looking forward to Yoshimi with keen anticipation. We know that we have Aaron’s enthusiastic blessing on our project.”
Over the intervening years, the show has gone through fits and starts of development including the adding of songs from the Lips’ albums The Soft Bulletin and At War With The Mystics along with a few originals with a total of almost 30 songs overall.
The story also seems to have morphed over the years. Back in 2007, Wayne Coyne described the show:
“There’s the real world and then there’s this fantastical world. This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of cancer. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It’s almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.”
Now, the show is described: “Yoshimi is a young Japanese artist facing the battle of her life: the battle for her life. Adrift from her family and lover, Yoshimi journeys alone into a fantastical robot-world where she wages a war with fate. Will her will to survive be powerful enough to master the evil forces that threaten to destroy her?”
The first production of the show is expected in November or December at the La Jolla Playhouse in Los Angeles.
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