Composer Stephen Endelman has acquired the rights to the iconic 1970s ITV drama “Upstairs Downstairs,” the precursor to “Downton Abbey,” and will convert it in a musical. Endelman (“De-Lovely”) nabbed the rights from co-creator John Whitney after striking up a friendship with his daughter, Fiona. In addition to Endelman, who is writing the music, the creative team will consist of other Los Angeles-based Brits including producer Adam Matalon, who is writing the book, and singer-songwriter Matt Goss, who will be the lyricist.
Hedge fund founder Reagan Silber is producing the musical, which will hold workshops in Los Angeles in November, and London in January. Other financial partners will become involved as the project develops.
“Other than technology, there’s very little difference between what is happening in the world today and what was going on then,” said Stephen Endelman of the show, which will use the classic “Upstairs Downstairs” characters to tell an original story set in 1911-12. “We’re still fighting; we still have a class system. I’m interested in exploring the genesis.”