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Live on Stage!

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So your show (or Show Within a Show) is hugely popular among a wide audience. For example, Tropey the Wonder Dog. So what do you do next? Well, it's only natural that you produce Tropey The Wonder Dog Live! and tour it in major arenas! When your work gets turned into a live stage show featuring people in costumes, you've officially made it in showbiz.
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Live on Stage! are stage productions based on directly or indirectly on licensed properties. The differences between this and a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation is that this type of show:

  • Often comes from production companies who produce many shows like this a year
  • Is usually intended to be temporary from the get-go, either as a touring production or a limited local production
  • May create an entirely new plot rather than try to adapt the original source material, though some shows do simply re-enact the media.
  • Especially for kids shows, it will include the most popular songs from the series with one unique song, so the "live show" CD can be sold in the lobby.

If the show adapted is a cartoon, also expect it to:

  • Have comparatively cheap costumes, with (non-human) cartoon characters usually being replicated with mascot costumes that sometimes don't translate well to real life.
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  • Is clearly intended for young children, and often interacts with the children in the audience
  • Often rely on voice-recordings rather than live acting, since the stage actors are not the original voice actors, and the audience would otherwise notice the difference in voice.

And as with many Show-Within-A-Shows, a in-universe Live on Stage! show may be rife with Adaptation Decay and Stylistic Suck, as well as lots of Camp.

For adult fan targeted stage adaptations of anime, see the 2.5D Theater section of Screen-to-Stage Adaptation.

Sub-Trope of Recycled IN SPACE!. This trope's own Sub-Trope is On Ice.


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Real-Life Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • There are usually two small stage shows for each season of Pretty Cure, and a larger one feature more elaborate performances- for example, the normal stage shows feature one villain, while larger ones tend to feature multiple villains.
  • Pokémon Live! was an American-produced live action stage musical of the Pokémon IP that toured September 2000 - January 2001. It featured larger-than-life puppets and actors in full-body mascot suits to depict over a dozen species of puppets. A Mexican version of the musical was also made that toured Mexico that same period. The only difference is that the cast all wore masks and had their lines dubbed over by their Mexican voice actors for the anime.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe Live, a live show based on the Marvel Comics universe.
  • Monica's Gang: Many stage adaptations featuring Monica and her friends were played through over the decades, but the most famous stage performance is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet titled Mônica e Cebolinha: No Mundo de Romeu e Julieta,Rough translation  which was first performed in theaters across São Paulo in 1978 before being filmed Direct to Video in 1979. Unlike other stage adaptations based on the comic, this one proved to be so popular that an updated version was performed in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise. This version would be played again in 2016 and 2018.
  • The Smurfs gained a live show called "The Smurfs" which toured across the globe in 2014.

    Films 
  • How to Train Your Dragon has produced not one, but two live shows:
    • How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular (originally "How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular") is an arena show adaptation of the feature film produced by the team behind "Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular", featuring several original new dragon species puppets.
    • A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE was performed on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship ice rink.
  • The Now You See Me films had Now You See Me Live, which is a Defictionalization of the Four Horsemen's magic show (albeit minus actually pulling off the heists).
  • The Trolls franchise had a live show known as Trolls Live! in 2020. It involves Poppy trying to save Hug Time from disappearing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sesame Street Live is the Trope Codifier, and one of the most popular real life examples of this trope. Created in 1980 by ex-Ice Follies staffer Vincent Egan's VEE Corporation and since having switched hands to FELD Entertainment, it is the longest-running of these shows, and even has been performed overseas to different-language-audio tracks to promote the many Sesame Street co-productions.
  • Barney & Friends has had several stage shows around the world. Most of the U.S. tours (along with a one-off concert in Dallas (Barney in Concert) and a concert series in New York City (Barney Live! In New York City/Barney Live! At Radio City!), both taped for home video) were produced by Lyrick Studios/HIT Entertainment themselves, while the last U.S. tour (Birthday Bash!) was produced by VEE Corporation.
    • A number of Barney shows are exclusive to international markets, notably Asia and Latin America. Barney's Space Adventures, Barney's Musical Park, and Barney Rocks! Live in Concert (based on the namesake album) are just a few examples.
    • Barney Live! World Tour - A Celebration toured exclusively throughout the Middle East in 2015 and 2017, produced by Life Like Touring. Unlike most Barney shows, the voice cast don't reprise their roles.
  • Even game shows have been turned into semi-live shows, for example The Price Is Right Live! in various casinos and Red Tail Entertainment's Double Dare Live!.
  • The Ultra Series has spawned hundreds of live events, from original stage plays every year at the Ultraman Festival to in-character handshake events at shopping centres, smaller-scale plays on public stages to stand-up comedy. The larger productions can feature dozens of costumed heroes and monsters duking it out or even performing a dance routine.
  • Samson En Gert has produced a yearly Live On Stage show since 1991. Adults that saw the earlier shows as kids are taking their kids now. It helps that it involves all the actual actors from the series itself.
  • From the same studio behind Samson En Gert, Kabouter Plop has gained several Live On Stage shows since 2000 which introduced characters (such as Kabouter Flop) that were only found in numerous live shows. The shows toured in The Netherlands and Belgium. The Walloon incarnation "Lutin Plop" also gained a couple shows that only toured in Walloon regions of Belgium.
  • Bassie & Adriaan did a series of on stage tours throughout The Netherlands in the 1980's, 90's and early 2000's.
  • Tweenies had several touring shows in the United Kingdom, some of which were held after the show had ended production.
  • Bananas in Pyjamas had one of these in 1994 in Australia. An album was released compiling songs from the show.
  • Johnson and Friends had several live shows held in both Australia and Japan.
  • The Big Comfy Couch had one by Koba Entertainment called Molly's Fool Moon Festival.
  • Inai Inai Baa! has a series of live shows called Wan Wan Wonderland, which gained a TV spin-off that airs once a month on Sunday that sometimes shows clips from the stage shows.
  • Okaasan to Issho has the Family Concert series, which occasionally airs on TV.
  • Polka Dot Shorts got a live touring show in the United Kingdom.
  • Bear in the Big Blue House had a live show called "Surprise Party", which adapted "Mouse Party". It was also created by VEE Entertainment.
  • Yo Gabba Gabba! had a total of five live stage shows, one in particular adapting "A Very Awesome Christmas". These were more concert-based than story-driven, however.
  • Odd Squad had Odd Squad Live!, which was directly produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Sinking Ship Entertainment.
  • The Muppet Show had two of these premiere not long after ceasing its original run. Both of them were created by VEE Corporation. As for later Muppet inspired "live shows", those are more strictly concert based and feature the actual puppets instead of costumed performers.

    Literature 
  • Arthur had two live shows: Arthur: A Live Adventure and Arthur Tricks The Tooth Fairy.
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog had a live stage show that was also a musical, which had elements of the 2000 Animated Adaptation of the series.
  • Curious George had one adapting the PBS Kids series.
  • The Japanese children's book Chirin no Suzu by Takashi Yanase has gained several stage shows and theater shows across Japan. These include school plays, puppet shows, dramatic readings, and a street performance by Team Swit©h.
  • Franklin had a few live shows produced by Koba Entertainment that mainly toured Canada.
  • Max and Ruby had three productions produced by Koba Entertainment, one of which was a retelling of The Nutcracker.
  • Little Bear had a Canadian-exclusive show called Winter Tails produced by Koba Entertainment.
  • Noddy:
    • The first one was based on Toyland Adventures and titled Noddy LIVE, which toured the United Kingdom in 1994 and also combined elements of the original books. It was then released on home video after its' run.
    • The Noddy Shop had two shows of this kind, which were comprised of people singing musical numbers from the show. The first had the Non Singing Voices for Johnny Crawfish (Percy Travis III) and Gertie Gator (Paula Chavis) with Dennis Scott and a costumed Noddy character (whose voice was provided by Cindy Bandes Furman, also the singing voice of Island Princess), while the second show, performed at the 2000 Canadian National Exhibition, just featured an unknown female presenter and a Noddy costume character (still voiced by Furman) doing the songs.
    • Make Way For Noddy got one in 2005 also titled Noddy LIVE!, and also toured in Brazil and France, getting a soundtrack album in the latter country.
    • In France, Noddy In Toyland gained two French exclusive shows but used Sly and Gobbo's previous designs instead of their redesign for the 2009 incarnation. The first was "Oui-Oui El Le Cadeau Surprise" ("Noddy And The Surprise Gift") which honored the franchise' 60th anniversary which ran from 2009 till 2011. The second was "Oui-Oui Et Le Grand Carnaval" ("Noddy And The Big Carnaval" ) which ran from 2012 till 2013. The French live shows is notable for having some of the French voice actors (such as Noddy's french voice actress Brigitte Lecordier) reprising their roles. Both shows gained exclusive albums and released in DVD format.
    • Noddy, Toyland Detective was represented in the show Milkshake Live! The Magic Storybook.
  • Thomas & Friends has had several of these made:
    • The first major tour that existed was held in arenas, and was titled The Big Live Tour or The All Aboard Live Tour, which was produced by DC Entertainment and Tell-Tale Productions that toured the UK from 2002-2006, and also toured Japan in 2005. These shows featured large model replicas of Thomas, Percy, and James (the latter of which won a Guinness World Record in 2004 for the largest electric model steam engine) that could move around on the track, blink and open their mouths. It was the first time characters had voice actors in the United Kingdom, with the voice cast being sourced from other productions by co-producer Tell-Tale Productions, including Justin Fletcher as Harold the Helicopter.
    • After that show ended, this trope was played straight with Thomas Saves the Day, which toured the United States in 2007, and returned in 2011. Other shows that followed this were A Circus Comes to Town, and the Asian-exclusive Thomas and the Hidden Treasure. These shows featured smaller moving models, although limited to Thomas and Percy due to movement limitations of the stage format.

    Music 
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks had two such shows produced in the 80's, one show produced in the 2000's, and another produced in 2015.
  • An unique example occurs with Psycho le Cému, a Visual Kei band that is based entirely on Cosplay, making fictional characters of themselves based on Japanese Media and some non-Japanese Pop Culture references in their music videos. Saying this, all their concerts and other live appearances like interviews and invitations to Cosplay events (mostly in the USA) are with their costumes as they're seen in their videos. In their concerts, they change their cotumes like 3-4 times to make a full experience of their music and visual.

    Networks 
  • ABC 4 Kids has had several stage shows combining several of the programmes broadcast on the network, mainly in the 90's.
  • The BBC, specifically CBBC and CBeebies, has had several live shows, some of them even falling under the Pantomime label.
    • The 2006 live show Children's Party at the Palace, celebrating both the Queen's 80th birthday and over 100 years of children's literature in the UK, is perhaps the most notable. It is about several characters from well-known British children's literature going on a wild romp finding the Queen's Lost handbag so she can deliver her speech at the party.
  • Disney Junior had three shows of this kind:
    • Disney Junior - Live on Stage!, which features a puppet show combining four of the most popular first-running shows at the time, centered around a Framing Device where Mickey Mouse and his friends plan a surprise birthday party for Minnie. This one played exclusively at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure for roughly a decade before getting replaced with Dance Party! mentioned below.
    • Pirate and Princess Adventure combined Jake And The Neverland Pirates and Sofia the First, and had a Doc McStuffins pre-show.
    • Dance Party! was more focused on the music of the shows that were featured rather than telling a story like the previous show.
  • British Kids Block Milkshake! has had several live shows featuring characters from various programmes broadcast on it as well as the presenters from the block.
  • Nick Jr. had two shows that combined all of the shows airing on the block. The first, Storytime Live!, centered on fairytale-based stories, while the second, Move To The Music, was more music-centric.
  • PBS Kids planned a combination live stage show and interactive experience called Really BIG Tiny Adventure that was ultimately cancelled.
  • At one point in it's early days, the MENA kids network Spacetoon produced a live show wherein characters from Pokémon: The Series and Conan Edogawa from Case Closed interacted with each other. The plot involved a Green Aesop, with Conan having to stop Team Rocket from polluting nature.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • Mortal Kombat of all things received a stage show as part of a multimedia push of the franchise which also included a Saturday Morning Cartoon, a live action TV series, a pair of movies, comic books, and almost every other form of media you can think of.

     Web Video 

     Western Animation 
  • Dragon Tales had at least 2 live stage shows produced by VEE Corporation.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, wherein the Turtles formed a rock band and preached against violence.
  • Phineas and Ferb had Phineas And Ferb: The Best Live Tour Ever, which provides the page image. This one is pretty notable for its rather uncanny costumes.
  • PJ Masks had at least 3 live-shows: PJ Masks Live, PJ Masks Live!: Time To Be A Hero, which toured the United States in 2017 - 2018, and PJ Masks Live!: Save The Day, which started touring in 2019. The latter two are musicals.
  • PAW Patrol has two shows of this type: Race To The Rescue and The Great Pirate Adventure.
  • Peppa Pig has several live shows that utilize puppet versions of the characters rather than full-sized costumes. All shows were however accompanied by a human woman who serves as the narrator.
  • Muppet Babies (1984) had three shows produced by VEE Entertainment.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants had a live show adapting The Sponge Who Could Fly which toured in Southeast Asia, the UK, Spain and Mexico. The SpongeBob Musical is a more traditional Screen-to-Stage Adaptation.
  • Shaun the Sheep had Shaun's Big Show, a live show mainly consisting of the characters dancing to music.
  • Fireman Sam had one called In Action that was comprised of three acts. It was also released to home video with an additional segment where the actor who played Sam visited kids in a park.
  • Dora the Explorer had two of these, both adapting episodes: Search For The Lost City of Toys and Dora's Pirate Adventure. Its spinoff, Go, Diego, Go!, followed suit by adapting "The Great Jaguar Rescue".
  • Rugrats had Rugrats: A Live Adventure, which told the story of Tommy and an invention called the People-ator, which can bring objects to life.
  • The Backyardigans had two shows of this type. The first, The Backyardigans Live!, was a retelling of "Tale Of The Mighty Knights", while the second, Sea Deep In Adventure, was exclusive to Canada.
  • Caillou had the Canada-exclusive Caillou's Greatest Skate Of All, which was a Christmas-themed show.
  • Blue's Clues had at least two shows of this type. Some productions of the show were staged well into The New '10s.
  • Bubble Guppies had one produced by Vee Entertainment called Ready to Rock!.
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood had two shows like this: Neighbor Day and King Daniel For The Day.
  • The Fairly Oddparents had a live show produced in Spain.
  • Scooby-Doo had one called Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold.
  • VeggieTales has had many live shows throughout the years. Some of them were performed at theme parks, while others were performed at churches.
  • Studio 100: Beginning in 2015, the company begun adapting some of their animated children's shows into live-action format that were exclusively shown in Flemish regions of Belgium.
    • Vicky the Viking gained a musical stage show called "Wickie de Musical" which was shown in Belgium and The Netherlands.
    • On October 2016, Studio 100 created a musical based on the 2011 Maya the Bee series called "Maya en de Pollenbollen" ("Maya and the Pollen Bulbs") starring Maya, Willy, Flip, Beatrice, and Thekla. The musical involved Maya, Flip, and Beatrice planning a surprised birthday party for Willy. However, the musical was only shown in the Flemish regions of Belgium. The same musical later had its second run in the Fall of 2017. Maya's Flemish voice actress managed to reprise her role as the titular character for the stage show and showed up at Studio 100's annual "De Grote Sinterklaas Show" beginning in 2016 and seasonal events at Plopsaland De Panne, Plopsa Indoor Hasselt, and Plopsa Coo.
  • Alfred J. Kwak: While the 1989 animated series was already based on a theatrical show of the same name. The animated series gained two musical stage shows which combined the 1987 comic series with the animated show.
    • The first was "Verboden To Lachen" in 2002 narrated by series creator Herman Van Veen and other performers and musicians. The show later gained a DVD release in 2003 in The Netherlands.
    • The second Alfred J Kwak en de Sneeuwvlok ran from 2013 till 2014 and gained a book adaptation. This show was only performed at the DeLaMar Theatre.
  • Peg + Cat got a stage show in 2019 that was based on the episode "The Big Dog Problem".
  • Super Why! had a stage show called You've Got the Power in 2012.
  • Wild Kratts has two stage shows, starring the Kratts themselves. The cartoon-only characters are shown on a screen.
  • Dinosaur Train got a stage show called Buddy's Big Adventure.
  • ThunderCats (1985) had one in 1987. It also featured some characters from The Comic Strip as well as an odd appearance by Gumby and Pokey.
  • Bugs Bunny had a couple billing his own name from the late 1970s to the early '80s. These shows also starred various DC Comics characters such as Batman, Robin, even Wonder Woman.

    Other 
  • Playhouse Disney / Disney Junior:
    • Three of the Disney Theme Parks had a show called Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! which consisted of sketches based off several Playhouse Disney shows. The original show led off with Bear in the Big Blue House and then traveled through the worlds of Rolie Polie Olie, Stanley, and The Book of Pooh. The show went through regular retools to replace cancelled shows with newer shows, as well as rebranding to Disney Junior - Live On Stage! in 2011 to match Playhouse Disney's rebranding. It was replaced with Disney Junior Dance Party in 2017.
    • There was also Playhouse Disney: Live on Tour, which as the name indicates was a tour across America. The plot of the show was that the characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Little Einsteins, and Handy Manny were throwing a music party. Unlike Live on Stage, Live on Tour used full-body costumes instead of puppets.
    • There was also Playhouse Disney Live!, which toured shopping malls. The show was hosted by Tony and Vivian from Out of the Box, and featured Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House, the titular trio from PB&J Otter (represented as puppets) and Olie & Zowie from Rolie Polie Olie (represented by full-body costumes), among others.
  • HIT Entertainment had a show entitled The Little Big Club - Live in Concert, featuring several of their shows including Thomas & Friends, Barney & Friends, and Bob the Builder. This show toured in parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. A subsequent Spanish adaptation toured Mexico and Central America.
  • Disney itself had "Disney on Parade" from 1969 to 1974, which featured Disney characters on stage in various skits and escapades. This would later be reshaped into Disney on Ice a decade later.
  • There was a Pucca live stage show called Pucca LIVE! that only toured Latin America.
  • The Peanuts had Snoopy's World of Magic that briefly toured at the tail end of 1989 only. It featured Snoopy performing magic tricks on the Peanuts characters, from levitation to teleportation to even unusual illusions such as flattering Charlie Brown and shooting him at a target and he emerges back as a normal formation. A brand new "remade" show using the same idea would be performed as "Snoopy's Magnificent Magical Revue" at Knott's Berry Farm.

In-Universe Examples

  • In the Arthur episode "Play It Again, D.W.", D.W. has four tickets to Crazy Bus Live. Arthur doesn't want to go, but D.W. tells him that it's only fair; she had to go to Bionic Bunny on Ice when Arthur wanted to go.
  • The Critic episode "A Little Deb Will Do Ya" has a subplot involving Jay's rivalry with time slot competitor Humphrey the Hippo (a subtle No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Barney the Dinosaur). One establishing shot sees an advertisement for Humphrey's Madison Square Garden event "The Hug-In" getting plastered over with a "Sold Out" banner (likely a nod to Barney's own sold-out concerts at Radio City Music Hall).


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