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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dr_zaius_4166.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:♪ [[Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes Oh my gosh! I was wrong!]]\\
It was EarthAllAlong! ♪]]

->''"So start off on the right foot and select a story that is all prepared for you. The translation of that story to musical form is quite complex enough. Within that frame you will find more than adequate challenge to your originality and enough on which to experiment."''
-->-- '''Alan Jay Lerner''', ''Advice to Young Musical Writers''

Many musicals - arguably most - are adaptations. There are two major reasons for this tendency:

'''a) Dramaturgy.''' Many musicals will have separate artists working on each aspect of the text - book, music and lyrics. Some musicals will have more than one person working on each aspect, and then you have the influence of directors, choreographers and producers. It's hard enough to write a good story as it is, so adapting an existing and proven story provides everybody working on the show with a touchstone.

'''b) Commerciality.''' Primarily, musical theatre has always been a commercial medium that tries to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Moreover, as the sheer costs of staging a Broadway or West End musical continue to skyrocket, producers are under increasing pressure to guarantee their shows will be smash hits. Audiences are more likely to come see a musical (or play, or film ...) based on a property with which they are already familiar, so adaptations are a safer bet than original works, though of course they're not sure hits (as proven by the line of unsuccessful musical adaptations of ''CyranoDeBergerac'' stretching back to 1899).


This trope is common enough that it would be more useful to list [[AvertedTrope exceptions]] and parodies than straight examples, and it is often said "great musicals are not written, they are ''re-written''". Note, however, that it can be difficult to define what counts as an "adaptation". Whilst many musicals draw their narrative structure directly from the movie, novel, stage play, comic book, short story, ancient Greek myth etc. on which they were based, many other musicals take their inspiration from a variety of unusual sources - a historical figure or event, a painting, a concept - but provide an original narrative. Going back to the roots of musical theater, a large number of {{opera}}s are also adaptations of older material... and a fair number of ''them'' have been turned into musicals.

Incidentally, this is why so many so many musicals are subtitled [[TitleTheAdaptation The Musical]][[ExcitedShowTitle !]]

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!!Aversions

* ''Film/TheAmericanAstronaut''
* ''Theatre/AnnieGetYourGun''
* ''Theatre/AnyoneCanWhistle''
* ''Theatre/AvenueQ'' isn't an adaptation, though it is largely a {{pastiche}} of ''Series/SesameStreet''.
* ''The Beautiful Game'' and its rewrite ''The Boys in the Photograph''.
* ''Theatre/TheBookOfMormon''
* ''Theatre/{{Brooklyn}}''
* ''Theatre/ByeByeBirdie''
* ''Caroline, Or Change''
* ''Theatre/{{Chess}}''
* ''Theatre/AChorusLine''
* ''Theatre/CityOfAngels'' is not an adaptation, though its ShowWithinAShow is a FilmNoir adapted from a novel.
* ''{{Company}}'' is a borderline example: it was based on a cycle of seven short plays, which however went unproduced.
* ''Theatre/{{Curtains}}''
* ''TheDrowsyChaperone''
* ''Theatre/{{Follies}}''
* ''{{Grease}}''
* ''{{Hair}}''
* ''HedwigAndTheAngryInch''
* ''InTheHeights''
* {{Jukebox Musical}}s (''Theatre/MammaMia'', ''Film/AcrossTheUniverse'', ''Theatre/JerseyBoys'', etc) ''[[ExactWords technically]]'' are not aversions, since they re-work pre-existing material into new presentations. However, the term "adaptation" usually refers to plot, not music, which may give these shows a bye via popular vote.
* ''Theatre/KissMeKate'' is an original musical... [[ShowWithinAShow about the cast]] of [[TheMusicalMusical a musical adaptation]] of Shakespeare's ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew''.
* ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}''
* ''Theatre/LadyInTheDark''
* ''TheLastFiveYears''
* Linie 1 a german musical famous for almost completely taking place in a subway train
* ''Theatre/TheMusicMan'', though it does have something in common with Meredith Willson's memoirs of his childhood, ''And There I Stood With My Piccolo''.
* ''NextToNormal''
* ''OfTheeISing''
* ''Theatre/OnAClearDayYouCanSeeForever''
* ''Theatre/PaintYourWagon'', despite the author's preface (quoted above) to the published libretto advising musical writers against trying to write original stories.
* ''PassingStrange''
* ''Theatre/{{Pippin}}''
* ''RepoTheGeneticOpera'' is a borderline example -- the writer adapted ''his own'' stage play, titled ''The Necromerchant's Debt'' into a musical.
* ''The Rocky Horror Show'': First a musical, ''then'' [[TheRockyHorrorPictureShow the movie]].
* ''Film/SinginInTheRain'', although it was written to utilize a bunch of existing songs the studio already owned, is actually a double aversion: a movie musical that is neither based on an existing story or adapted from a Broadway musical. What's largely forgotten is that this was actually common practice for film musicals of the era, and had been for a good ten years; this is simply the most famous example.
* A significant chunk of Creator/DonBluth's work -- namely, ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', ''AllDogsGoToHeaven'', ''ATrollInCentralPark'', and ''ThePebbleAndThePenguin''.
* ''SongsForANewWorld''
* ''StarlightExpress'' but only because AndrewLloydWebber wanted to do ''[[ThomasTheTankEngine The Railway Series]]'' but wouldn't have had the creative control he wanted.
* ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge'': Not based on a previous film, play, or novel, but on a ''painting''. Well, sort of.
* ''[[Franchise/{{Tabaluga}} Tabaluga und Lilli]]''
* ''[[Franchise/{{Tabaluga}} Tabaluga und das verschenkte Glück]]''
* ''13''
* ''tick, tick... Boom!''
* ''[title of show]''
** Lampshaded in "An Original Musical"
* ''Film/TopHat''
* ''{{Urinetown}}''
* ...And everything by Creator/GilbertAndSullivan, except ''Theatre/PrincessIda'', based on Tennyson's poem "The Princess"; and ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'' which is based on a much older story.
* Some musicals, such as ''[[SeventeenSeventySix 1776]]'', ''[[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar The Civil War]]'', ''Floyd Collins'', ''Titanic''(which coincidentally was produced the same year as [[Film/{{Titanic}} the film of the same name]]), ''{{Elisabeth}}'' and ''Theatre/{{Parade}}'' are not based on any literary source, per se, but rather on historical event. Though ''The Civil War'' does include a few direct quotes from speeches, etc., what these musicals get from history is their plots and many/most of their characters.
** The same is somewhat true of ''Assassins'' as well, which takes historical figures and events, and mashes them all together into one timeless [[BuffySpeak vacuum... type... thing.]]
** ''{{Newsies}}'' is another example, this time for film.
** Similarly, biographical musicals, such as ''AnnieGetYourGun'', ''{{Evita}}'' and ''I Am Star Trek'' (GeneRoddenberry).
* RodgersAndHammerstein's ''Allegro'' and ''Me and Juliet'' were originals. All other musicals they wrote (including movie and TV musicals) were adaptations.
* ''ZombieProm'' is an original musical, which was adapted into a much-abridged film.

!!Parodies

* ''TheSimpsons'' has done this several times, often parodying the concept by having its musicals draw from bizarre or inappropriate sources. Marge starred in a musical adaptation of ''AStreetcarNamedDesire'' (opposite Ned Flanders) whose cheery closing song "You Can Always Depend on the Kindness of Strangers!" managed to [[ComicallyMissingThePoint completely miss the point of the original line]]. Then there's ''[[PlanetOfTheApes Stop the Planet of the Apes: I Want to Get Off!]]'', which featured [[http://www.hulu.com/watch/20840/the-simpsons-mcclures-comeback breakdancing chimps and spontaneous piano solos]]. Smithers also wrote a musical inspired by Malibu Stacey dolls, providing an example of a musical based on a pre-existing concept while not being a direct adaptation.
-->'''Mr. Burns:''' A musical about a doll? Why not [[Theatre/{{Cats}} a musical about the common cat]]? Or [[Theatre/TheKingAndI the King of Siam]]?
** When Andre Previn made ''AStreetcarNamedDesire'' into an opera, he explicitly cited the "Simpsons scenario" ("Stella, Stella, can't you hear me yell-a?") as an instance of what he tried to avoid. In fact, the libretto simply sets the original text of the play to music.
** And who could forget "Kickin' It: A Musical Journey Through the Betty Ford Center"?
** And the musical adaption of ''[[ShowWithinAShow Itchy and Scratchy]]'', parodying the style of the Broadway version of ''Disney/TheLionKing''.
* ''Film/TheProducers'' notes a musical adaptation of ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', called ''Funny Boy''; it isn't depicted, but [[TakeOurWordForIt its audience informs us]] "It's the worst show in town!" in the first scene of the stage version, which takes place on its opening ''and'' closing night.
** While hunting for a show that will "close on page four", Max reads out what is clearly the first line of a musical adaptation of Creator/FranzKafka's ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis''. It's rejected for being ''too good''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' is another twofer: ''Film/{{Waterworld}}: The Musical'' and, as a ContinuityNod to the episode parodying action movies, ''[[CowboyCop Loose Cannon Cop Who Doesn't Play by the Rules]]: The Musical''.
* ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'' had "Keep on Trekkin'", a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' musical that addressed the post-cancellation success of [=TOS=] in reruns in TheSeventies. It ends with the cast turning down a network executive's offer of a {{Revival}} because they're making so much money already -- it was written before the movie franchise was established in 1979.
** "Coming Musicals" in MAD #41 suggested that, when Broadway starts running out of likely source material, new musicals could be based on telephone directories, railroad timetables, and cook books, producing song hits like "The Bell-Box Of My Heart" and "Oh, Your Lips Say Central Standard."
** MAD #100 did an article conceiving musical versions of ''Literature/MobyDick'', ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'', ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' and ''Franchise/{{Tarzan}}''.
** Later issues had musical versions of ''Franchise/StarWars'' ("The Force and I") and ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' ("The Ring and I"). Note that ''Moby Dick'', ''A Tale of Two Cities'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' have since been adapted into serious stage musicals, and Disney's ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'' received a ScreenToStageAdaptation. (''Lord of the Rings'' has also since been... rather ''less'' seriously [[http://www.fellowshipthemusical.com adapted]].)
** ''Series/{{MAD TV}}'' did a skit in the late 1990s spoofing how campy the [[Film/{{Batman}} Batman movie franchise]] had become by having the 5th one done as a Broadway musical. In fact, Warner Bros. actually had Jim Steinman and David Ives working on a ''Batman'' [[Main/BatmanTheMusical musical]] for several years, but it didn't pan out.
** Don't forget ''Film/ErinBrockovich'': "I may dress like a cheap table dancer / but give me a call if you think you've got cancer.."
** The only thing preventing a ''Star Wars'' musical is George Lucas's dignity (dear God, we're screwed). But it has been adapted into an opera.
*** Except that [[http://www.infauxmedia.com/ it exists.]] And is brilliant.
**** [[http://www.macms.org/DDK/ Twice!]]
* ''A Tale of Two Cities'' is also staged as a musical (''Two Cities'') in the Martin Short comedy ''A Simple Wish''.
* In the movie ''The Tall Guy'' Jeff Goldblum's character, trying to get into serious drama, finds himself starring in ''Elephant!'', a musical version of ''The Elephant Man''.
* On ''Series/ThirtyRock'', Jenna has been in musical versions of ''Con Air'' and ''Mystic Pizza''.
* A cutaway reveals Peter once performed in ''Red Dawn - The Musical'' on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. "I'm a Wolverine/And my hatred keeps me warm..."
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' had a scene featuring Terry taking Bruce Wayne to a musical about...Batman. The sad part is that the idea for it came from the fact that someone [[Theatre/BatmanTheMusical actually proposed a Batman musical]] [[RealLifeWritesThePlot in real life.]]
-->Bruce: ...you hate me, don't you.
* ''{{Fans}}'' once had a character perform in a musical adaptation of the Book of Leviticus.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' had Zoe and Kent go see "[[http://beta.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=030810 The Cylon King]]," a Broadway musical based on ''[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Battlestar Galactica]]''. Kent remarks they should have gotten tickets to "[[ComicStrip/FlashGordon Thoroughly Merciless Ming]]" instead.
* ''GilligansIsland'' had the castaways staging a musical of version of ''Hamlet'' to try to persuade a producer to return to civilisation and take them with him. He steals their idea, returns to civilisation [[StatusQuoIsGod and leaves them stranded.]]
* In a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketch, E. Henry Thripshaw announces that he hopes to turn his next disease into a musical (after his first disease became an InNameOnly film).
* The web series "The Battery's Down" parodies this with ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff The Musical'' and ''Home Alone The Musical''.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'' features Jay and Doris going to AndrewLloydWebber's newest musical, ''Hunch!'', an adaptation of ''Literature/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''. The sequence takes swipes at the commercialism ("Brought to you by Toyota: the hatchback fit for a hunchback!") and strange staging common to ALW's musicals. Note that this episode predated the Disney adaptation of ''Hunchback'' -- which had its own problems trying to make the story a musical that could also move merchandise -- by two years, making this HilariousInHindsight.
** Also, ''Theatre/NotreDameDeParis'' premiered in 1998.
* ''{{Rugrats}}'' has ''Reptar OnIce'', an Ice Capades-like musical show based on a Franchise/{{Godzilla}}-like action film franchise.
* In Andrew Lippa's version of ''Literature/TheWildParty'', the brothers d'Armano write a musical called ''Good Heavens'', based on the Bible.
* In a recent episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Rusty wants to make a musical about his life (a Johnny Quest boy-adventurer sort of childhood with its own cartoon show), though this never gets off the ground. He does get a duet with the in-universe version of Spiderman, the Brown Widow, which might be a parody of ''Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark''.
** For a bonus joke, Brown Widow mentions being in The Sound of Music as a kid, the film of which featured Nicholas Hammond, the 1970s TV Spider-Man, as Freidrich Von Trapp.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' revisits one of their early adventures:
-->"Y'know Ferb, one of the best times we ever had was when we built that rollercoaster. We should do it again! This time, as a musical! Whadya say? We'll do all the same things, except we'll break into spontaneous singing and choreography with no discernable music source!"
* The movie ''{{Hamlet 2}}'' is about a high-school drama teacher and failed actor trying to stage a musical ''sequel'' to the play (which is probably most famous for killing off nearly every major character by the end). Naturally, everyone else thinks it's an utterly terrible idea.
* An episode of ''{{Seinfeld}}'' features ''Scarsdale Surprise'', a Tony Award-winning musical based on the highly publicized murder of famous diet book author Dr. Herman Tarnower. It also has a weirdly meta version of this, with another nominee being a musical of the [[ShowWithinAShow fictitious movie]] ''Rochelle, Rochelle'' that the gang watched in a previous episode.
* The first episode of season 5 of ''Series/JonathanCreek'', "The Letters of Septiumus Noone", is set around an operatic adaptation of ''The Mystery of the Yellow Room'' by Gaston Leroux, which LockedRoomMystery fan Jonathan thinks is a travesty.
* Jon and Al Kaplan make one-song snippets of fictional musical adaptations of 80s action movies on [[https://www.youtube.com/user/legolambs their Youtube channel]]. And it is GLORIOUS.
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