Geronimo Stilton, the mouse hero of the popular children's book series of the same name, will be coming to life on the Singapore stage at the end of the month in the musical Geronimo Stilton, Live In The Kingdom Of Fantasy.
The multimedia production, which was first produced in Spain by Spanish Focus Grup and Grup62, has been watched by more than a quarter of a million people in Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada.
It will be staged at Mediacorp's MES Theatre from May 26 to 28.
The series' protagonist Geronimo Stilton works as a journalist and editor for the fictional newspaper The Rodent's Gazette.
Despite being mild-mannered and possessed of numerous phobias - he is afraid of darkness, bugs, snakes and much more - he constantly gets embroiled in adventures that take him to faraway places, escaping danger by a literal whisker.
BOOK IT/ GERONIMO STILTON, LIVE IN THE KINGDOM OF FANTASY
WHERE: MES Theatre, 1 Stars Avenue
WHEN: May 26, 5.30pm; May 27, 11am, 2.30 and 5.30pm; and May 28, 11am and 2.30pm
ADMISSION: $38, $48, $68, $88, $108 and $138 before booking fees via Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg). For school bookings on May 25 and 26, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6350-3836 for more information
In The Kingdom Of Fantasy series, he has to save the Queen of the Fairies by traversing seven doors that transport him between magical kingdoms. Along the way, he encounters fantastical beings such as witches, mermaids and a giant.
The show's current director John Bowles says adapting The Kingdom Of Fantasy has meant using visual effects such as 3D projections and animation to bring the series' magic to life.
"There are moments when live characters are talking to animated characters several metres high, that are fabulous to watch," says the Australia-born, Britain-based Bowles, 51, over the telephone.
"There's a scene with a beautiful unicorn that visits to give a message to Geronimo. It's a simple animation of a unicorn that talks telepathically, but it's moments like that that people remember. And for another scene where (the heroine Princess) Sterling sings to a giant, we had people in tears."
The show will also have catchy musical numbers that range from ballads to rap.
Says Bowles: "What is lovely about Geronimo is that the kids seem to have a real connection. It's been a real heartfelt thing to watch them follow Geronimo on his journey."
The books, which number more than 100 and regularly dominate The Straits Times bestseller list for children's fiction, are well-loved by children aged between six and 12 years old.
They have sold more than 140 million copies worldwide, having been published in more than 150 countries and translated into 48 languages.
They were first created by Italian children's author Elisabetta Dami in 2000 and subsequently published in English by Scholastic Corporation.
Geronimo is credited as the author for most of the books, while some are attributed to his sister Thea Stilton.
When The Straits Times attempted to interview Dami, she would respond to questions only in the persona of Geronimo.
Over e-mail, Geronimo says he was "a bit afraid" at the idea of making a musical of his books, but is himself an avid theatregoer and therefore decided to trust in the passion of the team working on it.
"I must say that the result is 'fabumouse'," he adds, using his famous catchphrase. "I never get tired of seeing this musical."
Geronimo says he writes his stories to "help children to grow".
"Children who read become (adults) who think. My stories are funny and fun, but they are also full of important values such as friendship, solidarity and respect for others.
"There is nothing more beautiful than to be able to share with many readers these values."