Why Zoe Lister-Jones is adapting her movie ‘Band Aid’ into a stage musical

Zoe Lister-Jones is adapting her 2017 movie “Band Aid” for the stage.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Zoe Lister-Jones wrote, directed and starred in the 2017 movie “Band Aid.” Now, she’s adapting the indie film for the stage.

The new musical dramedy will debut as a reading May 20 in New York, as part of MCC Theater’s PlayLabs series.

The IFC Films title, which was also Lister-Jones’ directorial debut, centered on a Los Angeles couple who, in an effort to curb their constant arguing, start a garage band and vent their unspoken pains and marital frustrations through their lyrics.

Adam Pally costarred as Lister-Jones’ onscreen husband, and Fred Armisen was featured as their neighbor and bandmate. Writing for The Times, film critic Katie Walsh called the movie “a very funny movie about an un-funny story,” and added that its original songs “land in that sweet spot where clever meets poignant.”


Lister-Jones first got the idea to bring “Band Aid” to the stage from her theater agent, who made the suggestion on the night the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Of course, I had thought about very little else while getting the movie made, but the second he mentioned that to me, I was so excited,” she told The Times on Wednesday. “I started out in the theater and have a real love for it, and it just felt perfect since the movie is so musical.”

Writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones, right, starred in the movie “Band Aid” alongside Adam Pally and Fred Armisen.
(IFC Films)

Many of the film’s original songs, written by Lister-Jones and Kyle Forester, will appear in the reading, along with additional tunes and new musical arrangements by Zoe Sarnak. Leigh Silverman is directing the reading, produced by Barbara Whitman and Marcia Goldberg.

While Lister-Jones isn’t currently committed to star in the production’s future stage run, she is planning to replicate at least one thing from the film: an all-female crew.

“That’s absolutely a huge priority of mine in all of my work, and in the theater, I would make no exception,” she said. “Thus far, our creative team is entirely female, and we plan to continue to seek out amazing women to head departments.”

In addition to finishing the “Band Aid” musical, the “Life in Pieces” actress is also writing and directing Sony’s reboot of the horror movie “The Craft” and the ABC-ordered comedy pilot “Woman Up.”

“All of these projects are so dear to me and I find them each so creatively nourishing,” she said of juggling multiple projects of different genres. “So even though I am exhausted, it all feels thrilling totally worth it. I feel very, very lucky.”


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