The story of Georgia runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks captivated TV viewers when it was in the news almost two years ago. Now it will entertain theater audiences as a musical — or, to be exact, a "rock opera," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"The Runaway Bride," an "unauthorized" production, will be staged at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth, Ga. — the runaway bride's town — and open in October, according to the newspaper.
"Of course, I'll be right there in the audience," Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter, who played a key role in the real-life saga and is depicted in the dramatic rendition, told the Journal-Constitution.
"I think that that is just great, if that's what [the theater] wants to do," Lasseter said. "People have made money off it. No reason why the Red Clay can't, too."
The show's writer, Duluth resident Jamie Heck, told the Journal-Constitution the musical won't be a spoof or satire and will only feature the characters of Wilbanks and her former fiancé John Mason in small roles. For legal reasons they won't be named, said Heck, who hasn't spoken to those involved, the newspaper reported.
Instead, his staged version of events will center on the community's reaction to the disappearance, search and resolution of the case.
"I really want it to be a good story about the community … without it being sappy," Heck told the Journal-Constitution.
The production is still in development, according to the paper.
Only days before her April 2005 600-guest wedding, then 32-year-old Wilbanks ran away, leaving her fiancé and family worried sick. She took a bus to New Mexico and then called Mason and 911, initially making up a story about being abducted and sexually assaulted before eventually admitting she'd fled on her own because of cold feet and other psychological problems.
She told the community and the media that she was seeking help, and Mason initially stood by her.
The couple has since ended their relationship, and in September 2006, Wilbanks sued Mason for $500,000 and household belongings she said were hers. She accused Mason of selling their story to a media company and then using the money to buy a house.
Mason countersued, but in December, they dropped their lawsuits.
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.