Rick Elice (born Eric Elice) was born in New York City in 1956, where he subsequently graduated from the Francis Lewis High School in Queens. He gained a BA from Cornell University, an MFA from the Yale Drama School, and was a Teaching Fellow at Harvard from 1980-1981. He then became a copywriter and creative director, subsequently serving as creative consultant to Walt Disney Studios from 1999 to 2009.
In collaboration with Marshall Brickman, Elice wrote the book for the musical Jersey Boys, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book For a Musical in 2006. They then wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the show. In 2008, he reunited with Brickman to write Turn of the Century , which premiered at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago under the direction of Tommy Tune. Elice collaborated with Brickman one more time on the popular musical The Addams Family. Elice then went on to adapt the 2006 novel Peter and the Starcatcher for the stage. The Broadway production received nine Tony Award nominations, more than any new American play in the history of the Tony Awards. Most recently, he wrote the book for the jukebox musical The Cher Show
Elice was in a relationship with British actor Roger Rees for 37 years. In 2011, when it became legal to do so, they married and remained together until Rees' death from brain cancer in July 2015.
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