Tim Rice and Lee Menzies have today (27 May 2011) confirmed they will bring their long-rumoured musical adaptation of James Jones’ 1951 classic novel From Here to Eternity to the stage in 2012.

Rice has been working on the project for several years, which has a score by young British composer Stuart Brayson and book by Bill Oakes. The production will be directed Bush Theatre associate and Smash and Tell Me On A Sunday director Tamara Harvey.

Book writer, author and frequent collaborator with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rice created smash hit musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. He is billed as providing additional lyrics for the upcoming show.

From Here to Eternity, set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1941, takes place shortly before and during the attack on Pearl Harbour of 7 December. The 1953 film adaptation, which won eight Oscars from 13 nominations, starred Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed.

When interviewed about the project several years ago, Rice said his fantasy casting targets for the show were Catherine Zeta Jones and Kevin Spacey to play officer's wife Karen Holmes and her enlisted lover Sgt Milton - characters immortalised by Kerr and Lancaster with the film's crashing-waves-on-beach love scene. What’s more, he envisaged Johnny Depp in the conflicted Montgomery Clift role of Private Prewitt.

Published in 1951, From Here To Eternity was James Jones’ debut novel. Based loosely on his own experiences as a member of the 27th Infantry and the unit in which he served, it won him the National Book Award for fiction in 1952.