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Sugar, butter, and flour on-camera and on-stage.note 

Blank Paper: ...More recently, musicals have been based on movies like My Favorite Year, Footloose, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Big, Saturday Night Fever, The Wedding Singer, The Full Monty, The Producers (inhales) Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Beauty and the Beast, Billy Elliot, Spamalot
Jeff: Wow! So movies make good musicals?
Blank Paper: Well, they make musicals.
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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 movie-of-the-stage-musical.

Separately, in Japan, 2.5D Theatre has emerged as a new branch of the anime sphere. Rather than a "safe bet", or an attempt to cash in on a popular movie, as the Broadway examples are sometimes seen, 2.5D productions are made for fans, as a new and vibrant expression of fan love, though there are exceptions. See the folder below for more information.

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Inversion of The Film of the Play.

(Original title in parentheses if necessary).


    open/close all folders 

    Film Musicals into Stage Musicals 

    Non-Musical Films into Stage Musicals 

    Non-Musical Films into Straight Plays 
  • Marcel Pagnol's 1930s "Marseille Trilogy" started with the films adaptations of two plays, Marius and Fanny. Then he wrote a third film, César, in 1936. Said film was adapted into a play in 1946.
  • 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 on Stage: A 2018 stage adaptation of the 1985 cult comedy classic (based on the board game), using Jonathan Lynn's original script with alterations done by Hunter Foster, Eric Price, and Sandy Rustin. The stageplay follows the same basic plot and script as the movie, with a few new changes — Mrs. Peacock is now a religious zealot in addition to being the corrupt wife of a senator, Professor Plum's lustful tendencies have been expanded into him now believing himself to be God's gift to women, and — most notably — there are no alternate endings, with the movie's third ending being the only one used here.
  • Dead Poets Society
  • 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 Thirty-Nine Steps.)
  • The Man from Earth
  • 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, and the two versions have almost exactly the same script. The movie has an extra, very short, intro scene.
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    2. 5 D Stage Plays (Japanese Adaptations of Anime, Games, Manga) 

2.5D began in the 1990's with series like the Sailor Moon musicals, and Sakura Wars. In the late 2010's, it has become its own vibrant corner of the anime world, with almost 200 plays produced in 2018. The label 2.5D was coined in 2015 by the producer of the Tenimyu series. They are called 2.5D because they exist between the 2D world of anime and the 3D world of regular theatre.

These productions tend to be made for audiences who are already fans of the source material. They also tend to be series that follow successive story arcs.

How do new fans catch up? Another unique point about 2.5D is that the plays usually have short runs, followed by a bluray release. Popular series like Touken Ranbu and Ensemble Stars will run for 2-3 months and tour throughout Japan and even overseas, while other plays will often only run for a week. 2.5D combines the focuses of live theater and video media in ways that other productions don't often do. This means the actors have to act for the camera and the back row simultaneously.

The venues themselves become gathering places for fans, and the atmosphere is like that of an anime event.

The titles are usually abbreviated as (first two syllables of title) + "sta" for a stage play, or "myu" for a musical (e.g. Kuroshitsuji Musical becomes KuroMyu, Tsukiuta Stage play becomes TsukiSta, etc.)

The 2.5D sphere also includes productions that are not adaptations, such as Kuro To Shiro and Messiah.

2.5D productions with their own pages:

Other anime, manga, and games with 2.5D stage adaptations.

    Other Stage Adaptations of TV Series and Video Games 
  • 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.
  • A musical adaptation of Only Fools and Horses, written by Jim Sullivan (son of series writer John Sullivan) and Paul Whitehouse premiered in London in 2019.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants received a Broadway musical, The Spongebob Musical, with a score composed by many famous artists, including Aerosmith, They Might Be Giants, The Flaming Lipsnote , John Legend, Lady Antebellum, and David Bowie.
  • Really Rosie has a stage play that is almost a straight adaptation of the original special, some extra songs and few Darker and Edgier elements are thrown in.

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