Oscar-Nominated CODA Is Getting A Musical Stage Adaptation

As of this writing, Siân Heder's 2021 film "CODA" — a remake of Éric Lartigau's 2014 French film "La Famille Bélier" — has won Best Picture at the PGA Awards and Best Adapted Screenplay at the WGA Awards. These wins come after a long string of accolades from various critical and production groups and three Academy Award nominations, with winners set to be announced on Sunday, March 27. Vegas odds have "CODA" as second likely to win Best Picture. 

"CODA" tells the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing member of her family, as she assists in the family fishing business in Gloucester, MA, and dreams of going to the Berklee College of Music in order to sing in the choir. She is embarrassed by her horny parents (Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin), and is wrestling with a potential romance of her own. Her musical aspirations will eventually face practical roadblocks, as she has always been a vital part of the fishing enterprise, and she will eventually have to choose between a path her parents may not understand, and the business she's always been beholden to. It's quite a sweet film. "CODA" premiered at Sundance, and was bought by Apple TV+ for $25 million. If it wins Best Picture, it will be the first win for a streaming service. 

It was announced in the Hollywood Reporter today, that "CODA" will be adapted into a stage musical by the Deaf West Theatre, Vendôme Pictures, and Pathé Films.


The Deaf West Theatre was founded in 1991 in Los Angeles by Ed Waterstreet, and combines sign language and spoken word to create a powerful theatrical experience. They have won many awards, and were nominated for a Tony in 2004 for their production of "Big River," and were nominated for three Tonys in 2016 for their revival of "Spring Awakening" (that was the year of "Hamilton"). In their mission statement, the DWT announced that they intend to use theater as a medium to "bridge the gap" between the deaf and hearing worlds. You can donate to the theater on their website

The musicals at the DWT are performed in sign, and the language is worked into the choreography. Actor Troy Kotsur, nominated for an Academy Award for "CODA" has participated in DWT productions in the past. 

No release date or talent has yet been announced for the "CODA" musical, but the artistic director of the DWT, DJ Kurs, sees a lot of potential: 

"In the movie there is a scene where the deaf members of the Rossi family, confronted with an inaccessible school performance, take in Ruby's song through the joy of others in the audience. This is an opportunity, then, to bring the story full circle by bringing it back to members of the deaf community and by making the music accessible through our signed and sung live adaptation of the movie."

A release date had yet to be determined.