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The List: Movies on the musical stage

- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2011

Many musical films over the years have been based on Broadway shows, notably "The Sound of Music," "South Pacific," "Oklahoma" and "Grease." However, in recent times, we have seen the transformation of Hollywood movies into Broadway musicals. On July 7, "Disney's 'Aladdin: The New Stage Musical,' adapted from the 1992 film, makes its world premiere in Seattle. This week, the List looks at other famous movies that have become noted stage musicals.

  • Aladdin (1992) — The hugely popular Academy Award-winning animated feature has been adapted for the stage under the name "Disney's 'Aladdin: The New Stage Musical.' It will be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who received a Tony Award nomination for the Broadway hit "The Book of Mormon."
  • The Producers (1968) — The Mel Brooks movie became a smash hit musical in 2001 starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. It ran for 2,502 performances, winning a record-breaking 12 Tonys. The musical then became a 2005fixed imdb etc film.
  • 42nd Street (1938) — Based on the 1933 Warner Bros. film, the musical opened on Broadway in 1980. It won the Tony for best musical and became a long-running hit.
  • The Apartment (1960) — The Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine movie was adapted into a musical and opened on Broadway as "Promises, Promises" in 1968. The music was by Burt Bacharach and the lyrics by Hal David. The show was revived in 2010 and is running at the Broadway Theatre starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) — This was one of the first Disney movies turned into a musical. It ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth-longest-running production in history. Seven new songs were written for the stage version.
  • Mary Poppins (1964) — The Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke movie was adapted to the stage on London's West End in 2004 and opened on Broadway in 2006. Some elements from the Mary Poppins series of children's books that had been omitted from the film were restored on the stage.
  • Young Frankenstein (1974) — "The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein" opened on Broadway on Nov. 8, 2007, to mixed reviews and closed after 30 previews and 484 performances. It was based on the comedy film of the same name, written by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989) — The $15 million stage version opened on Broadway on Jan. 10, 2008, and closed on Aug. 30, 2009, after 685 performances and 50 previews. Ten new songs were written for the musical.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) — The 2005 Broadway musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" was "lovingly ripped off," as the billboard noted, from the 1975 film. The show, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tonys. During its initial run of more than 1,500 performances, it was seen by more than 2 million people and grossed more than $175 million. Eric Idle, an original member of the British comedy group Monty Python, wrote most of the songs.
  • Woman of the Year (1942) — The Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn film was adapted to Broadway in 1981, starring Lauren Bacall. Raquel Welch later replaced Miss Bacall, and Debbie Reynolds replaced Miss Welch near the end of the run.
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950) — The William Holden classic movie was adapted to the stage with music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It opened first in London in 1993 and then latter in the year in Los Angeles with Glenn Close playing the lead role as Norma Desmond. It opened on Broadway in 1994 with Miss Close. Patti LuPone, who initially had been promised the Broadway run, sued Mr. Lloyd Webber and received a settlement reported to be $1 million.
  • Xanadu (1980) — The Olivia Newton-John movie was a bomb, but the musical that opened on Broadway in 2007 earned rave reviews and was a surprise hit. "Outlandishly enjoyable," noted the New York Times. The musical is on tour in the U.S.
  • The Lion King (1994) — The stage musical of the same name, with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, was an instant success when it opened on Broadway in 1997. The Disney production won six Tonys and is still running in New York City and Las Vegas.
  • Hairspray (1988) — In John Waters' film, most of the featured songs were popular 1960s pop tunes. In the Broadway version in 2002, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman created an original score that won one of the eight Tonys awarded to the production. Ironically, the movie was remade in 2007.
  • All About Eve (1950) — The Bette Davis classic, nominated for 14 Academy Awards, was adapted into a Broadway musical and called "Applause" in 1970, starring Lauren Bacall. The character of Addison DeWittimdb and more, the drama critic played in the film by George Sanders, was eliminated in the musical.
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1960) — This Roger Corman B movie was transformed into a hugely popular off-Broadway musical in 1982. The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz and starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1925) — The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was loosely based on the 1925 Lon Chaney film and the 1943 Claude Rains movie version of Gaston Leroux's book. The musical opened in the West End in 1986 and on Broadway in 1988. It is the longest-running musical in Broadway history after overtaking "Cats "in 2006.
  • Singin' in the Rain (1952) — The stage musical based on the Gene Kelly movie opened in London in 1983 and on Broadway two years later. There it ran for 367 performances and 38 previews.
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939) — A new musical version of the famed MGM movie, with six new songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice — together again after three decades — along with original songs from the Judy Garland film, opened on London's West End this year. "A show of genuine flair and imagination," the Sunday Express declared.
  • The Wedding Singer (1998) — The 2006 Broadway musical was based on the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore movie and ran on Broadway for just 284 performances. The musical toured the U.S. last year. "The show has at least a flutter of a hedonist's pulse," the New York Times said.

Compiled By John Haydon

Sources: (David Horiuchi),, Wikipedia, The Washington Times, the New York Times and Associated Press.


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