A lot of times musicals are based on books like the Scarlet Pimpernel
. And other times they’re based on plays like Picnic
, which became Hot September. But, more recently, musicals have been based on movies like My Favorite Year
, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
, Saturday Night Fever
, The Wedding Singer
, The Full Monty
, The Producers
(inhales) Thoroughly Modern Millie
, Beauty and the Beast
, Billy Elliot
Wow! So movies make good musicals? Blank Paper:
Well, they make musicals
It's usually the case that hit plays get turned into movies. But more and more nowadays, the opposite is happening, with films being translated for the stage. Some say it's a sign of intellectual bankruptcy in theatre. Hollywood has the same problem, but there are a lot more new successful movies in the last two decades than new successful plays. So the stealing ends up being one way.
These are usually musicals even when they weren't in the first place (see All Musicals Are Adaptations
); Adaptation Decay
usually occurs here. Movie musicals are also frequently adapted for the stage, and these tend to acquire additional songs
in the stage version.
This trope can be taken one step further, by going from movie, to stage musical, to Recursive Adaptation
Film musicals adapted for the stage:
- 42nd Street
- An American in Paris
- Calamity Jane
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella was originally produced for CBS television. Interestingly, the first time it was produced on stage seems to have been a definitely non-standard Pantomime adaptation which played London in 1958.
- Their one written-for-film musical, State Fair, was adapted for Broadway in 1996.
- Dirty Dancing
- High School Musical (First two films)
- High Society
- Mary Poppins
- Meet Me in St. Louis: A stock version appeared in the 1960s, and a somewhat different version reached Broadway in 1989.
- Once. Possibly belongs in "originally not a musical" territory, as much of its music is diegetic. However, if it does, so does...
- The Producers, which has even less In-Universe singing. Three songs from the original movie were carried over.
- Scrooge (1970)
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
- Singin' in the Rain
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: There have been two unofficial adaptations - one by the Berklee College of Music with only the musical numbers, and a "24-Hour Musical" version by University College Dublin.
- Swing Time was adapted as the stage show Never Gonna Dance, which premiered on Broadway in 2003.
- Thoroughly Modern Millie
- Top Hat
- White Christmas
- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory became Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka in 2005. It is not officially a direct adaptation of the film, instead having a script that's more book-accurate, but includes all the familiar songs and some new Leslie Bricusse-penned numbers. (Not to be confused with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a 2013 West End musical that borrows one song from the film but is otherwise a fresh take on the novel with a few internal homages to other adaptations.)
- The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 movie) has inspired several musicals. One was allowed to use the songs from the movie but not any of the dialogue that wasn't in the original book. The most recent, in 2011, was adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and included several new songs.
- Disney examples:
- The company started making big Broadway productions out of its animated movies in the 1990s with Beauty and the Beast, but there was a stage production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that played N.Y.C.'s Radio City Music Hall in 1979 and was even filmed for TV and video. Disney has since put The Lion King, Tarzan, and The Little Mermaid on Broadway, while their Aladdin adaptation was first produced elsewhere (it was created with amateur/regional companies in mind) but eventually made it to the Great White Way. There is also a production of The Jungle Book running in several cities.
- There's whole series of "Kids" and "Junior" adaptations of other canon films (Alice in Wonderland, Mulan, etc.), specifically designed for children to perform.
- My Son Pinocchio deserves special mention as it's a Screen-to-TV-to-Stage adaptation: a stage version of the Pinocchio Twice Told Tale TV musical Geppetto.
- And now Frozen is in the works for a stage adaptation.
Stage musicals based on non-musical films (original film in parenthesis if necessary):
- Against All Hope
- Applause (All About Eve)
- Billy Elliot
- Bullets Over Broadway
- Catch Me If You Can
- A Catered Affair (The Catered Affair)
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Evil Dead: The Musical
- Grey Gardens
- Here's Love (Miracle on 34th Street)
- High Fidelity
- Little Shop of Horrors (The Roger Corman B-movie The Little Shop of Horrors)
- 9 (8½)
- Reefer Madness: The Musical
- Road House
- Shrek: The Musical
- Max and Ruby
- Silence! The Musical ("The unauthorized parody of" The Silence of the Lambs)
- Silk Stockings (Ninotchka)
- Spamalot ("Lovingly ripped off from" Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
- Young Frankenstein
- There's going to be a musical stage version of Star Wars.
- Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Heavily, if unofficially, based on the first two movies about the character)
- La Cage aux folles
- Legally Blonde
- Passion (Passione d'amore)
- Sweet Charity (Nights of Cabiria)
- Tanz der Vampire (The Fearless Vampire Killers)
- The Red Shoes (1948)
- Fanny (Marcel Pagnol's film trilogy)
- The Wedding Singer
- Saturday Night Fever
- Love Story
- The Full Monty
- Ghost: The Musical
- Nosferatu the Vampire
- Return to the Forbidden Planet
- Urban Cowboy
- The Toxic Avenger
- Elf the Musical
- Sister Act
- Breakfast at Tiffany's. (Considered one of the biggest flops in Broadway history — it only had four previews, and never officially opened)
- The Goodbye Girl (Adapted by screenwriter Neil Simon himself)
- Donnybrook! (The Quiet Man)
- Woman of the Year
- A Wonderful Life (It's a Wonderful Life)
- Carnival (Lili)
- Promises, Promises (The Apartment)
- Minsky's (The Night They Raided Minskys)
- My Favorite Year
- A Man of No Importance, Based on the 1994 film of the same name starring Albert Finney.
- Peggy Sue Got Married
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; both the movie and musical are written by Stephen Elliot)
- King of Hearts
- Make a Wish (The Good Fairy, which in turn was based on a play of the same name)
- Whistle Down the Wind
- Grand Hotel
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Look to the Lilies (Lilies of the Field)
- Sunset Boulevard
- Sugar (Some Like It Hot; in fact a 1992 London staging used that title instead)
- Henry, Sweet Henry (Both the novel and movie The World of Henry Orient)
- Illya Darling (Never on Sunday)
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (A production adapted from the 1988 movie was first performed in 1993 by a community theatre in Naperville, Illinois and in Los Angeles in 1994)
- Hazel Flagg (Nothing Sacred)
- 9 to 5
- The Baker's Wife (La Femme du Boulanger)
- Grey Gardens (Adapted from a documentary!)
- Busker's Alley (Sidewalks of London; intended for Broadway but closed during its out-of-town tryout)
- Carmelina (Buona Sera Mrs Campbell, which also inspired the book for Mamma Mia!)
- Some stage adaptations of novels had input from people involved with movie adaptations of them.
- The musical version of Carrie shared a scriptwriter with the movie and is still a Broadway byword for unmitigated failure in Screen-To-Stage Adaptationalizing. So Bad, It's Good or unredeemably awful? You decide. (Betty Buckley, who played Miss Collins in the movie and Carrie's mom here, still salvaged a song for her album though.)
- The Color Purple counted among its producers two people who worked on the movie version — Quincy Jones (co-producer) and Oprah Winfrey (she played Sofia).
- Back to the Future (currently in development with Alan Silvestri writing songs and Robert Zemeckis producing)
- Secondhand Lions, which oddly, does not feature the titular lion.
- Kinky Boots
- My Fair Lady has the unusual credit "adapted from Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion produced on the screen by Gabriel Pascal."
- Groundhog Day
- Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Non-musical stage adaptations of movies:
- Calendar Girls: Originally a true story, the tale of a group of WI members' creation of a nude calendar to benefit a local cancer ward was first made into a film, and then the film was adapted by Tim Firth into a stage play.
- Clue: The Play
- Sadly, there is to date no commercially available stage adaptation of the film. A few players have obtained special permission, and any other performance was and would be technically illegal. There is a musical stage version, but it has nothing to do with the film.
- How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular
- Night of the Living Dead (1968): The public domain status, and relatively low budget the film had makes it an easy and convincing transfer onto stage.
- The 39 Steps is a Played for Laughs adaptation of the 1935 film The 39 Steps that uses just four actors! (Although it was originally a novel, The 39 Steps.)
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again: Created for amateur stagings in The '80s, this is a Pragmatic Adaptation that scales down the action but preserves the style and tone of the film.
- Point Break Live! is a tongue-in-cheek retelling that uses an audience member to fill Keanu Reeves's role (dialogue is provided on cue cards).
- 12 Angry Men: Technically, it was a play before it was a movie. However, it started as a teleplay on CBS' Studio One program.
- Does it count as an adaptation if the two versions have almost exactly the same script? The movie has an extra, very short, intro scene and that's about it.
- War Horse
Stage musicals based on manga and/or anime (these tend to be series of musicals that follow successive story arcs):
Stage adaptations from other sources:
- The Addams Family
- Kingdom Hearts actually has an unofficial stage adaptation done in Germany by the performing group Tsuki no Senshi. They did adaptations for the original Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II There are some clips on YouTube for the Kingdom Hearts 1 and Chain of Memories productions.
- Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
- It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman
- In the 1980s there were two stage adaptations of The BBC Scotland sitcom City Lights, starring the original cast.
- Doctor Who stage plays include Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday (1974) and Doctor Who — The Ultimate Adventure (1989). The earliest—and possibly Ur-Example—is The Curse of the Daleks, written by Terry Nation and David Whitaker, from 1965. The episode "Midnight" was also adapted to the stage in a small student production.
- In Japan, some particularly popular games have received screen-to-stage adaptations of their own, such as Persona 4 Visualive, which adapts a chunk of the game's story to stage; and Phantasy Star Online 2 -ON STAGE-, which features an original story based on the game.
- SpongeBob SquarePants is getting a Broadway musical that will first run in Chicago. Many famous artists will write songs for the show, including Aerosmith, They Might Be Giants, The Flaming Lipsnote , John Legend, Lady Antebellum, and David Bowie.