Live musicals and broadway shows have always been a staple of entertainment, and to this day, they are still running strong. From “Monty Python’s Spamalot” to “The Little Shop of Horrors”, in this installment from Top10Archive, we’ll look at 10 Film to Stage adaptations.
Even if you’re not a theater buff, you’ve probably heard of The Producers. The musical’s critical success came at a combination of Mel Brooks’ humor and writing style and the original cast of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. The musical was based off of Mel Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The musical went on to win 23 awards and the movie has been recognized numerous times by the American Film Institute, even being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress. Both Broderick and Lane left the show, and when the production started to dip in quality, returned for another run from December 2003 to April 2004. Both actors also returned for the 2005 remake, which Mel Brooks did not direct.
In 1988, acclaimed comedic director and writer, John Waters, created a film that would instantly gain cult status. The movie follows an overweight girl that achieves fame after winding up on a teenage dance show. In 2002, Hairspray was adapted into a very successful musical, with music composed by Marc Shainam and a book arranged by Mark O’Donnel and Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production went on to win 19 awards, 8 of them being Tony Awards. The musical also garnered enough popularity to warrant a remake of the 1988 film, which starred John Travolta.
The 1992 musical film starring Christian Bale was a complete failure upon its release in theaters. The film follows the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City and featured sixteen original tracks, composed by Alan Menken. Despite the theatrical failure, though the film does have a cult following today, a musical was spawned in 2011, starting at the Paper Mill Playhouse before hitting Broadway in 2012. Alan Menken returned for the musical arrangement, with Jack Feldmen on lyrics and Harvey Fierstein creating the book. The musical was a much bigger success than the film, warranting awards for Best Choreography, Best Original Score, and Best Music.
Beauty and the Beast
Another Disney favorite turned musical, Beauty and the Beast began running on Broadway in 1994 and has continued on tour through 2014 with a revival in Moscow. The production stands as the ninth longest-running production in history, running for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007 on Broadway. The love between Belle and the Beast comes to life in this beautifully composed production that does the original animated movie plenty of justice. Regardless of its impressive run, Beauty and the Beast has won only two awards – one Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and a Tony Award for Best Costume Design.
The Lion King
Disney’s tale of the growth of a young lion cub into a candidate for being king has spawned video games, sequels, and plenty of other merchandise, but its most successful spin was the Broadway musical. The musical version of Disney’s The Lion King began running in 1997, starting small as a test in Minneapolis before hitting the main stage of Broadway. Seeing as how the musical couldn’t employ real lions, clever costume work and impressive wardrobes were implemented to create the look and feel of the classic movie. Despite critical and commercial success, The Lion King received only one award in 1998 for the Tony Award’s Best Musical category.
Little Shop of Horrors
The Roger Corman horror classic starring Jonathan Haze and Jackie Joseph, The Little Shop of Horrors, has seen three different iterations – the original film, a musical, and a movie based off the musical. The musical struck the off-Broadway scene in 1982 and achieved success due to the early 1960s style of music, composed by Alan Menken. The musical was such a hit that director Frank Oz adapted it into a full-length feature film starring Rick Morranis. The musical production earned awards for Best Musical from Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Evening Standard. Though the musical captures a more comedic aspect to the tale of Audrey II, it remains dark in tone to stay true to the original.
It’s a brave man that turns a commercial flop of a film into a live stage production, and that brave man was Douglas Carter Beane. Somehow, Beane saw the potential of a musical in Olivia Newton John’s roller skating romantic fantasy musical. Xanadu enjoys a successful run on Broadway, accomplishing the warranted fame that its source material tried so hard to strive for. The production features songs like “Magic”, “I’m Alive”, “Evil Woman”, and the title track, “Xanadu”, all composed by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. In 2008, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awarded Xanadu with the Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding Book of a Musical awards, respectively.
Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy revolving around the sordid tale of Dr. Victor Frankenstein instantly became a cult classic and pulled in a box office total of over 86 million dollars. Sticking to the unconventional element of the movie, in 2007 Mel Brooks sought to turn the concept into a full blown musical. Regardless of mixed reception, the musical was awarded five Broadway.com Audience Awards for Favorite New Broadway Musical, Favorite Lead Actor in a Broadway Musical, Favorite Featured Actor in a Broadway Musical, Favorite Featured Actress in a Broadway Musical, and Favorite Onstage Pair. The musical acts as a parody of the horror film genre, specifically poking fun at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
It was a very creative mind that thought to turn Monty Python’s off-beat humor into a full-scale musical. It all started in 1975 with the popular film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which Spamalot was adapted from. The musical was part brainchild of original Python, Eric Idle, who was responsible for the book and lyrical arrangements. Since its premier in 2005, the musical has seen performances on Broadway to tours within the United Kingdom. Its success garnered it a Tony Award for Best Musical and Drama Desk award for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lyrics.
Evil Dead the Musical
Back in 2003, in a small bar in Toronto, Canada, musical theater received one of its more unique additions. Evil Dead the Musical portrays the original three Evil Dead films – The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness – in a musical production that pushes boundaries with its unique style and unconventional offerings. What kind of offerings? The show is designed to allow each production the chance to cover its audience with a blood mixture during key points, adding a “4D” element that keep the audience involved. The show has had successful short-run productions in Toronto and off Broadway and is currently headlining on the Las Vegas Strip under the Sirc Michaels’ Production Company.