War Horse began as a limited engagement on Broadway, but the play's immediate success has made the play to extend to an open run after the preview nights crowded in the house night after night. The play is basically based on a children's bestselling 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo and has been masterfully directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. The stage version of the novel is adapted by Nick Stafford.
The story of War Horse revolves around the beautiful relationship between a young boy and his beloved horse, even though the bigger story delves into the terror of war and a generation of British youth who has sacrificed their lives for their country.
War Horse's story begins with a young boy, Albert, who grew up on a farm in Devon, England, who forms a quick relationship with a half-thoroughbred horse named Joey. Albert teaches Joey how to plow and help Ted win his bet against Billy. When World War I breaks out, Albert's father sells Joey to the cavalry to raise money needed for his family and Joey is shipped to France. At the time of the sale, Albert is too young to join the army with his horse, but three years later, he runs away from home and though under-age enlists himself in the army hoping that he will get reunited with his beloved animal once again.
In the meantime, Joey has been on his own adventure, serving both sides of the conflict and finally ending up on in no man's land caught up in barbed wire. Joey is eventually matched up with a deserting Hauptmann Friedrich Muller, a German officer, who proves to be passionate about horses as much as Albert.
As both Albert and Joey work all the way through their own life lessons, the themes of the devastation of war and the conflict between the old and the new ring loud and clear for the viewers of the War Horse play.
War Horse will be treated to much more than a spellbinding tale of love and war. The sparse set makes way for life-sized puppets designed by puppeteers Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company, with 'horse choreography' done by Toby Sedgwick. These puppets bring the equines to life in a wonderful way, definitely ramping up the theatrical and creative qualities of this musical.
Inspired with this musical, a film has been adapted for this story and has been released in 2011 as a drama film with the same name directed by Steven Spielberg, which became a huge box office success.