It’s been a huge trend in theatre to take popular movies and turn them into musicals. Take a look at any picture of Times Square and check out the Broadway billboards: Shrek, Young Frankenstein, 9 to 5, and so many more. And people say Hollywood ran out of new ideas! (I’m just joshing, theatre fans!)
These productions tend to do pretty well, thanks to established fanbases and fun plots that don’t have to be taken too seriously. Who doesn’t want to see a big ensemble number of Legally Blonde‘s bend n’ snap? —Okay, not me. But a lot of people still do.
I feel bad that Broadway and the rest of the theatre world has been hit so very hard by the current recession, so I decided to give the big-wigs on the Great White Way a little help. I’ve compiled a list of seven movies I think could be amazing to see on stage and would promise to bring in da moneyz. Hopefully any producer reading this (hello, Mr. Andrew Lloyd Webber!) will seriously consider my suggestions.
1. Citizen Kane the Musical – If it’s good enough to be the greatest American film, it’s good enough for Broadway! I envision a 2-hour comedic romp which builds up to a gloriously choreographed Finale. The chorus members will all come out to burn the possessions of the dead Kane (played by Nathan Lane.) But because the whole Rosebud thing was just too subtle in the movie for musical theatre, the song lyrics will literally spell out “it was his sled!” And then Thompson (Cheyenne Jackson) will get a happy ending befitting a Broadway extravaganza – a wedding ballet with Susan Alexander (Amy Spanger) because obviously we need to force a romance plot somewhere. I’m sure Orson Welles would approve! I predict it would win 9 Tonys.
2. Transfomers: Refrain of the Fallen – A spectacular cabaret in four acts, this show would appeal to the standard theatre-going set as well as staight men. I’m not sure how they’d manage the integral wrecking ball…um, balls, but the sets would be dazzling! And they could put Phantom of the Opera’s leftover pyrotechnics to use. 8 Tonys.
3. High Fidelity: the Musical – Oh, wait. They already tried this. And it failed miserably. Hmm…
3. She’s All That! – Sure, teens rarely do well on Broadway (the recent revival of Bye Bye Birdie cast a 23-year-old as Conrad and a 15-year-old as Kim. It flopped majorly.) But that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying this Pretty Woman rip-off! Of course, Pretty Woman itself was just a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady rip-off itself, so let’s see this whole thing come full-circle and land back on the stage! Just cast Kerry Butler – Lord knows she could play 17 until her teeth fall out. Think of what a beautiful show-stopper “The Rockafeller Skank” would be LIVE ON STAGE! 4 Tonys.
4. The Terminator Musical – “I’ll be back… for Act 2 after this fifteen-minute intermission.” 10 Tonys.
5. Love Actually: the Musical – With these interwoven storylines and adorable British characters, this little charmer could include many styles employed by shows like Rent. Done as a super-hip rock musical, the actors could sing overlapping each other around a simplified stage and move the black box set themselves. The costuming would also be simple – just plain street clothes that the actors walked in wearing. 2 Tonys.
6. Jersey Shore the Fist-Pumpin’ Musical – Hey, if they can set movies and novels to showtunes, why not a reality show? It’s pretty much the highest form of drama. Whole songs need to be dedicated to Angelina’s refusal to sell t-shirts, Ronnie’s “never fall in love at the Jersey Shore” rule, and the Situation…just the Situation. Think of the tension in the Act 1 Finale “Snookie Gets Punched In The Skull By A ‘Roid-Head” – the power, the rawness, the pure emotional catharsis! 8 Tonys, not including the cast members.
7. Twilight: the Musical Saga – A romantic-horror-musical in the same vein as Phantom or Jekyll & Hyde, this Andrew Lloyd Webber production would be imported straight from London’s West End and feature one of the biggest budgets in live theatre history. Audiences would be awed at the moodiness of Bella Swan (Sutton Foster), the sparkliness of Edward Cullen (Neil Patrick Harris), and the wolfiness of Jacob Black (Lin-Manuel Miranda.) This epically bland love story would simply shine with radio-ready ballads in place of character development and engaging conflict. A surefire monster hit! 13 Tonys, officially breaking The Producers’ record for most awards won by a single show.
Now personally, I think I could be a genius producer. I mean, these ideas are pure gold!
In all seriousness, I do have a healthy respect for the theatre and understand why musicals based on movies, especially cult flicks, do well. They make audiences feel comfortable with their recognizable stories, characters, and jokes. I myself prefer jukebox musicals such as Mamma Mia! and Rock of Ages, but I completely get the allure of something more like Hairspray or The Wedding Singer. (I won’t lie – I do love the Xanadu soundtrack!) It seems to me that the ones that truly cultivate followings of their own are the darker Off-Broadway productions – Little Shop of Horrors, Evil Dead: the Musical, Reefer Madness, Toxic Avenger, and the like – they all just seem incredibly fun with no apparant pretentions, and those are the kinds of shows I wanna see.
Consider this my warped little love-letter to the people who make those musicals possible.