Show History



In 1984 when Drewe and Stiles were reading Rudyard Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to Drewe's niece and nephew they were struck by Kipling's style of storytelling and his idiosyncratic use of language and play on words. Stiles revisited some of Kipling s other work and discovered among them the Just So Stories. He suggested the idea of a musical version to Drewe and in January of 1985 they began writing. Then when they heard the Performing Rights Society was launching The Vivian Ellis Prize competition for young writers, they submitted a few samples of what Just So would be, and won. The judges included Vivian Ellis, David Heneker, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Don Black, Mike Batt and a young producer named Cameron Mackintosh. Mackintosh would come to be a champion and mentor for the project over time, and play not only a pivotal role in this musical, but in the entire career of Drewe and Stiles.


Just So is a musical by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles based on the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. When the writing team won the Vivian EllisCompetition for young writers in 1984 based on their synopsis and two sample songs, Just So was born. Upon completion of the full musical Just So then premiered at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth during the winter of 1985. From there it continued to be molded through several rewrites and was produced by Cameron Mackintosh at the Watermill Theatre and Tricycle Theatre in England in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Continuing to try and perfect the show, Drewe and Stiles further revamped it over time, taking short breaks to write the hit musicals Honk! and later Mary Poppins. In 1998 the musical was produced at the Goodspeed Opera House and then in 2001 at North Shore Music Theatre. Feeling that they had finally gotten it right, the North Shore production of Just So was subsequently remounted at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2004 and led to a production for the Tabard Theatre in 2010.

Cultural Influence

  • Just So brought a young Drewe and Stiles to the attention of producer Cameron Mackintosh. The three would later go on to collaborate on Disney's Mary Poppins.
  • A cast album of Just So was recorded by the Chichester Theatre Festival cast and released on First Night Records on July 3, 2006.