‘Water for Elephants’ Brings the Circus to Broadway

At the sound of a gunshot, a performer, wreathed in white silks, tumbles from the ceiling. His body somersaults, over and over, faster and faster, until it hangs suspended, just above the stage floor. This scene, in the first act of “Water for Elephants,” a new musical that begins previews Feb. 24 at the Imperial Theater, portrays the death of an injured horse. And it captures the singular methods of the show — a synthesis of theater and circus, bedazzled for a Broadway audience.

“In musicals, you talk until you have to sing and you sing until you have to dance,” Jessica Stone, the director of “Water for Elephants,” explained. “And in our case, you dance until you have to leap into the air.”

With a book by Rick Elice, and music and lyrics by PigPen Theater Co., the musical is based on

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