Award-winning playwright Richard Bean is turning his hand to musicals. He’s penning the book for a new musical version of The Count of Monte Cristo, for which music and lyrics are being provided by Michel Legrand and Don Black. In Alexander Dumas’ 19th-century historical adventure novel, Edmond Dantes is wrongly imprisoned for 14 years before escaping, locating a hidden treasure, assuming the identity of the titular count and destroying his enemies. Though new to musicals, Bean should have no problem with the epic. His last London stage play, Harvest, premiered last year at the Royal Court, spanned 91 years and four generations – and won the Critics’ Circle award for Best New Play (See News, 31 Jan 2006). Bean’s other plays include Under the Whaleback, Toast, The God Botherers and Honeymoon Suite.