The Mirisch Company
There's truly nothing like seeing a musical live. The lights, the choreography, the music coming straight from the pit, the drama of the theatre in general. They're magical to experience. Unfortunately for us and audiences everywhere though, they're not always efficient or easy to see. Between traveling tours, short run-times, hard to get or expensive tickets and limited locations available, catching your favorite Broadway hit isn't always simple.
Thankfully, some brave souls take on the task of translating these incredible productions from stage to screen so that viewers everywhere can indulge as much as they like. It's not always a smooth transition from the West End to film, but movies like Mamma Mia!, Chicago, Hairspray and Les Miserables are proving that it's more than possible to do so. These films are taking home Academy Awards (we still can't believe Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again wasn't nominated for Best Movie), becoming staple films in the world of pop culture, and allowing us to imagine the possibilities of what could happen if we translate even more of our favorites from Broadway to the local AMC. Excitingly, a lot of people feel this way. The number of movie musical adaptations are only increasing, and we're lacing up our shoes to sprint to the theatre for all of the upcoming releases. Check out our list of 15 musicals currently being adapted for the silver screen.
Before his unprecedented success with hit broadway show Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda was starting off his career at Wesleyan University with the first draft of his musical In The Heights in hand. The show, which focuses on the New York City neighborhood Washington Heights, is set over a period of three days and follows the tale of Usnavi de la Vega (originally played by Miranda), a bodega owner, and the other people living in the Barrio. The writer is now taking the Tony-winning production to the big screen, with a release date set for summer 2020. Anthony Ramos, who originated the role of John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in Hamilton, will take over the role of Usnavi and will be joined by Jimmy Smits and Corey Hawkins to name a few.
Instagram/Wicked The Musical
There aren't enough words in the dictionary for us to describe how much we love Wicked. The successful Broadway production has broken box-office records around the world and is one of the highest-grossing musicals of all time. Based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, the show tells the intriguing tale of what life was like pre-Dorothy for Glinda, originally played by Kristin Chenoweth, and Elphaba (better known now as the Wicked Witch of the West), originally played by Idina Menzel.The show recently celebrated its 15th anniversary with an NBC special and will be heading to the big screen in December of 2021. The film will supposedly feature new songs, but not much else is known yet about the production. We'd love to have our original stars back in the game for the film, but as long as the teacher is played by an actual goat there'll be no complaints from us.
Since 1981, Cats has been a staple name in the musical world. The Andrew Lloyd Webber sung-through musical is based on the poetry book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and follows the Jellicles, a tribe of cats trying to pick which of their own will ascend into a better life. The film, directed by Les Miserables director Tom Hooper, is due out at the end of 2019 and has a star-studded cast. The production will feature Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba and more. We have a lot of thoughts going into this movie, and the main one is we can't wait to watch J-Hud sing "Memory" forever.
Since it's premiere in 1957, West Side Story has been a pop culture phenomenon. Based on Romeo and Juliet and featuring music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, how could it not be? The production was first adapted as a film in 1961 and won 10 of the 11 Academy Awards it was nominated for. The 2020 production, written by Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner, will be directed by Steven Spielberg and will stick close to the original plot but explore other aspects of life in the '50s that the original may have missed. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler are set to star as star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria. We're not sure a new movie will ever stack up to the original, or Rita Moreno for that matter, but we're willing to give it a shot.
It's no surprise that Andrew Lloyd Webber makes this list more than once. The composer, known for other productions like Evita and The Phantom of the Opera, finds his way to the list once again for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with long-time lyricist and working partner Tim Rice. The duo's 1972 musical, which follows dream-interpreting biblical character Joseph and his multi-colored coat, has seen the screen once before. The 1999 direct-to-video film starred Donny Osmond as the title character. In 2017, Webber announced that he and Elton John would be adapting the show as an animated film, which will feature a number of new songs. There has been no casting announcements yet, which makes sense as the "Rocketman" singer has been busy performing on his final tour and plugging his biopic, but we're hoping he just takes the role himself.
Instagram/Come From Away
From being workshopped in 2012 to being nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2017, Come From Away has seen massive success. The production, created by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, follows the true story of 7,000 airplane passengers stuck in the small town of Gander, Canada after the tragic events of 9/11. The characters from the town and the 38 grounded planes, many based on real people, work together to house and feed those who are stuck while working through the trauma of the event together. It was announced in late 2017 that the creators would pen the screenplay with help from The Mark Gordon Company and director Christopher Ashley. The director hopes to film in the actual town of Gander, and we can't wait to fully immerse ourselves into this beautiful story and setting.
Though it already received the big screen treatment in 1968, winning six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Oliver! has become enough of a staple in the musical world to earn more than one adaptation. The production, based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens follows the story of young orphan Oliver who escapes to London where he makes friends with a band of pickpockets. Disney originally adapted the tale in their animated hit Oliver & Company, and they'll look to make another great film again. They have hired on Danny Strong to pen the screenplay for the new film with the production help of Marc Platt, Ice Cube (who will play Fagin as well), and Jeff Kwatinetz. Hamilton and In The Heights director Thomas Kail will direct. With an all-star set up like this, we're expecting nothing but greatness.
Python (Monty) Pictures
In the world of Monty Python it makes complete sense that a musical based on a movie would be made back into a movie. The musical in question, Spamalot, was based on the cult favorite Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The plot of both follow the age-old Camelot quest for King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to locate the Holy Grail, though these versions feature some interesting detours including holy hand grenades and hamster mothers. It was announced in May of 2018 that the film adaptation would begin production the following spring with original Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot actor Eric Idle set to pen the screenplay and Casey Nicholaw to direct. We're not sure what to expect, but we'll take an infinite amount of remakes if the group will give them to us.
Instagram/Spring Awakening Broadway
Before there was Glee ring-leader Rachel Berry and Hamilton's King George III, there was Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff starring in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening. The show, which premiered in 2006, follows the story of German youth grappling with the issues of puberty, discovering their sexuality, and family values. The story is based on 1891 play of the same name, and is on the film to-do list for Duncan Sheik, who created the music for the stage version. Tom Hanks's company Playtone is supporting the project, but Sheik is holding off on any production until the perfect director is found. Here's hoping 2019 is the year he locks something down.
Another movie to musical and back to movie adaptation on the list is Sunset Boulevard. The 1950 film was one of the first ever selected for preservation by the National Film Registry and follows the story of a long-forgotten silent film star living on the title street who hopes that an up-and-coming screenwriter might help her find relevancy once again. Rob Ashford will be making his feature film directorial debut with his upcoming adaptation. Glenn Close, who won a Tony for her performance as main character Norma Desmond, will reprise her role for the film, which will start filming in the fall. We'll support any Glenn Close moment, so we look forward to the remake.
Twitter/Library of Congress
Does Lin-Manuel Miranda ever sleep? We're starting to think not after the Moana song-maker announced he'd be directing the film version of tick, tick... BOOM! The 2001 production is an autobiographical story by composer Jonathan Larson, who created the musical Rent. What started off as a solo performance became a full stage show when playwright David Auburn made revisions after the author's death. Now, Manuel, who once starred in the musical with future In The Heights and Hamilton co-stars Karen Olivo and Leslie Odom Jr., and screenwriter Steven Levenson are looking to get back to the roots of the performance with their upcoming movie and to further tap into who Larson was. Both creators are excited to be creating this movie about a big influence in their careers and are using both family and friends to bring authenticity to the production.
Good Times Video
The second time's a charm for the musical Jekyll & Hyde, which is based on the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The musical rights had been secured by RP Media in early 2013, but fell through eventually. Now, Birdman writer Alexander Dinelaris will take over with the help of Richard Saperstein’s Bluestone Entertainment. The horror drama was once released for TV with David Hasselhoff playing the two-sided character. We'd love for the Hoff to make a return to big screen, but we look forward to watching as the casting unfolds regardless.
The Gypsy title role of Gypsy Rose Lee has been played on the stage and screen by some of the biggest stars Broadway has to offer: Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone and Bette Midler to name a few. Now someone else will get a chance to join the ranks as Gilmore Girls and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino takes on the next film adaptation. The 1959 musical, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and Jule Styne, is based on the life of Lee as she navigates becoming a famous stripper under the management of her manager mother. "Everything's Coming Up Roses" for Sherman-Palladino lately, so we have high hopes for the big film and we can't wait to see who's belting the song next.
Samuel Goldwyn Productions
Based on a number of short stories by Damon Runyon, including "Blood Pressure," "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Pick the Winner," Guys & Dolls has been a fan-favorite for years. The Pulitzer Prize-winning show follows a missionary, a nightclub performer, and two gamblers as they make big bets, big trips, and big romantic gestures. The musical was originally made into a movie in 1955 featuring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. TriStar Picture has now acquired the rights, signing on John Goldwyn, Meyer Gottlieb and Marc Toberoff as producers. There's no word on any casting yet, but we're excited to see who will fill the shoes of these legendary stars.
One of the newest shows on the list, Everybody's Talking About Jaime really does have everybody talking. The West End production is based on the documentary Jaime: Drag Queen at 16, which premiered on BBC Three in 2011. The plot follows Jaime New who, after being bullied about his sexual orientation, turns to drag to find confidence, self esteem and his true self. Original director Jonathan Butterell is set to direct once again and original creators Original creators Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells will rework the piece for the big screen. The show has seen great success in the U.K., and we look forward to it making its way across the pond and onto our screens.