Show History



Mirette is a musical adaptation of the acclaimed children's book, Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully.

Elizabeth Diggs, a college classmate and friend of McCully's, saw the dramatic and musical potential in the poignant tale of teacher and student. Diggs asked Tom Jones of The Fantasticks fame whether he knew of any composers or lyricists who might want to try his or her hand at Mirette. As it happened, Jones and his writing partner, Harvey Schmidt, were in search of a new project. Since the team had already written Collette Collage, about the famed French author, all felt that they would be a good fit for the Parisian flavor and setting of Mirette.

The creative team set to work on the musical in earnest in the summer of 1993, expanding McCully's 32-page book into a more complex and layered tale that was appropriate for theatre audiences.


Mirette premiered at the 1994 Sundance Festival and was developed there again over the following summer.

Goodspeed Opera House then produced Mirette at the Norma Terris Theater, their smaller stage, from August 1, through 25, 1996.

Mirette was then featured in the Festival of New Musicals in 1996, sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.

The show was returned to Goodspeed and was produced on the main stage from July 1, through September 18, 1998.

Despite the Jones/Schmidt pedigree, Mirette was not recorded or widely performed after its Goodspeed production. However, in 2005, it finally received its New York premiere at the York Theater's popular "Musicals in Mufti" series, with Robert Cuccioli of Jekyll and Hyde fame in the pivotal role of high-wire artist, Bellini.

Mirette was then featured in the Princeton Festival in New Jersey in 2008.

Cultural Influence

  • Songs from Mirette are featured on the album, The Show Goes On: A Portfolio of Theater Songs by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt.
  • Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt are best known for having written The Fantasticks, which is the world's longest running musical.
  • Mirette on the Highwire earned its author, Emily Arnold McCully, the Caldecott Medal for "the most distinguished American picture book" in the year of its publication.
  • In 2000, McCully published a sequel to Mirette on the High Wire, entitled Mirette and Belinni Cross Niagra Falls.


  • In addition to being a playwriting professor at NYU, book writer, Elizabeth Diggs, is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an L.A. Drama-Logue Award for playwriting.
  • NAMT, whose Festival of New Musicals featured Mirette in 1996, has nurtured the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals since 1985.