From Hollywood to Broadway – The Rise of the Movie-to-Musical!

Happy Thursday everyone! Is it just me or does Broadway and, to a lesser extent, the West End feel inundated with movie to musical adaptations? With Tootsie having just opened on Broadway (and Moulin Rouge! on its way) and BIG coming to London is theatreland suffering from writers block?

Over the years we have been blessed with classic films getting the musical treatment. From The Lion King to Mean Girls these adaptations have been positively received, although there gave been a few exceptions….Big Fish anyone? But it does make me wonder that perhaps this art form has gotten a tad lazy!

BIG The Musical – Coming to the Dominion Theatre from September.

If you think about it a movie to musical adaptation must be somewhat easy money for producers to make, the story is already there and there is already mass appeal. You really wouldn’t have to market it that much… “Hey you! Remember you loved Beetlejuice as a a kid? Well now it’s going to be on stage for $100 a ticket”. When it was announced that Moulin Rouge! was heading to the Broadway stage people couldn’t get enough of it! These types of shows sell out on pre-sale before the majority of theatre goers know much about it.

Don’t get me wrong I would be ecstatic to see Mean Girls if it ever headed this way, or be interested in Pretty Woman, but these fortune filled, pre-loved stories could be blocking new and exciting work from taking up the big spaces.

I guess a pro of these movie-to-musicals are that we get to see some of our favourite stories come to life, live and in the flesh. You really can’t argue with the goosebump inducing opening sequence of The Lion King or experiencing the glittering glamour of Moulin Rouge! live. Plus, a lot these movies don’t have any original songs (e.g Pretty Woman, Beetlejuice, BIG) which means that there are more original scores to listen to, sink out ears into and obsess over.

You could also argue that having these pre-loved stories in theatre’s opens up the West End or Broadway to a whole new audience. You just need to scroll through twitter to see that people who wouldn’t normally attend the theatre are booking tickets to see their favourite movies played out in real time.

But, with a new musical adaptation being announced every week (that’s what it feels like) theatreland seems to be getting bogged down. And unfortunately, I just can’t shake the feeling of a ‘quick buck’ is being made by lazy, or dare I say it, unimaginative producers.

Beetlejuice – Currently in Previews on Broadway

I understand that this argument is probably a little more nuanced but as you know from previous blogs this ‘squash’ of potential new talent is a topic I am really interested in (and the reason that I embarked on #MyStageyYear).

Whether you’re a fan of them or not you can’t deny that movie-to-musical’s are becoming ever more prevalent, I just hope that that it doesn’t become the norm…

Till Next Time,

Abigail xx

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