Pin It

Broadway Continues to Turn to Movies For New Musicals

It used to be that a Broadway show would be a hit on stage, then be made as a movie. But as anyone who has followed Broadway in the last twenty years knows, with the success of Disney Theatrical Group and the the success of Mel BrooksThe Producers at the turn of the twenty-first century, that trend has been mostly reversed — hit movies are now becoming Broadway shows, with a significant amount of Broadway shows of the last dozen years being based on popular movies.

This trend is more evident than ever, with Newsies, Once, Leap of Faith, Ghost: The Musical, Sister Act and Priscilla Queen of the Desert all currently on the Great White Way.  And in the works are Broadway shows based on movies that one would likely never suspect of making a good musical: Rocky, Back to the Future, and Animal House.

Though movies-to-musicals like The Producers, Hairspray, Spamalot, and Billy Elliot became big hits, each winning the Tony Award for Best Musical — with The Producers and Hairspray being such big hits that they were even being remade as musical movies — a movie turned musical isn’t always a major success.   Adaptations of Young Frankenstein, Shrek, Elf, High Fidelity, Urban Cowboy, Saturday Night Fever, and Catch Me If You Can were met with little critical or financial success, and in many cases lacked both.  Some only lasted weeks, not months, before closing.

Yet Broadway producer Ken Davenport argues that the success rate for movies-turned-musicals isn’t any worse than original musicals, point out, “Only 20 to 30 percent of Broadway shows return their investment.  Totally original musicals that aren’t based on anything are unbelievably rare, and have a big failure rate. I look for source material that will make a great musical, and I don’t care if it’s from a book, a movie or a postcard!”

One of the major motivating factors includes audience recognition, with producers hoping that fans of the original film will make the trip to Broadway.  Producer Manny Azenberg says, “A hit film is a brand, and it gives you that recognition factor,” though he admits, “It takes some of the creativity and originality out of the process.”

The New York Post features a lengthy list of musicals currently in the works for Broadway.  They range from “I can totally see that” with shows based on Flashdance to “Really?” with shows like Sleepless in Seattle.  Whether any of them will make it to Broadway is anyone’s guess, but it does show that producers are not giving up on this trend anytime soon.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-ron-perlman-on-his-fathers.jpg
Watch: Ron Perlman on His Father’s Influence on His Early Career
Ron Perlman is a prolific actor, and he has also lent his distinctive voice to a number of projects in film and television — including the new animated film The Book of Life. One of the reasons that Perlman works so hard is not only because he loves being an actor, but because of what […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cate-blanchett-asks-graduating-s.jpg
Cate Blanchett Asks Graduating Students a Heavy Question: “What the hell can you do with an arts degree?”
“What the hell can you do with an arts degree?” Many actors ask themselves that when they find themselves struggling to make it in Hollywood while saddled with student loans. It was Cate Blanchett who posed that question recently to graduating students at Macquarie University in Sydney where she received an honorary doctorate degree. The […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/matthew-mcconaughey-rallies-his.jpg
Matthew McConaughey Rallies his Alma Mater Football Team to Victory with the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Chant
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey delivered a different kind of speech two weeks ago when he spoke with the Texas Longhorns football team after their close 20-17 loss to UCLA. The moment was a bit odd, but hilarious at the same time. Coach Charlie Strong was the one who invited the Dallas Buyers Club star to inspire the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-reveals-her-awkw.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn Reveals Her Awkward ‘Breaking Bad’ Audition Details
Though Breaking Bad was obviously a career highpoint for every actor involved, they all must move on to their next projects (except for the few who are involved in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul). This includes Anna Gunn, who portrayed Walter White’s wife Skyler on the award-winning series series. Gunn’s new series, the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-conversations-with-maggie.jpg
Watch: Conversations with Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott of New CBS Series ‘Stalker’
Both Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott are TV veterans, with Q recently starring in Nikita and McDermott recently starring in both American Horror Story and Hostages. This season both star as the leads of Stalker, a drama series on CBS about LAPD detectives who specialize in crimes that have to do with stalking. In a […]