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By Britton Perelman · July 30, 2018
Some of the most memorable movie moments have been from musicals — Dorothy crooning about somewhere over the rainbow, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds singing in the rain, Danny and Sandy reuniting in the funhouse after their high school graduation. There’s just something about people bursting into song I suppose.
The songs of ABBA have been brought to the big screen for the second time in the sequel to Mamma Mia! this summer, meaning that it’s time, yet again, to look to Broadway for the next big blockbuster. These 10 musicals could, and should, be coming to a theater near you.
It’s a feeling we all remember — standing in front of our classmates and attempting to remember if “i” comes before or after “e.” Though it may not be a setting you think of when considering stage musicals, the creators of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee made the middle school spelling bee just that. Nine oddball characters participate in the spelling bee of this story and, with the right creative on board to adapt the musical, a film version could be something really special.
The writers of The Book of Mormon were quite familiar with serious social commentary and deep topics layered in ridiculous comedy — Trey Parker and Matt Stone created South Park and Robert Lopez co-wrote the music for Avenue Q. This hilarious, inappropriate, and oddly charming musical found a home on Broadway back in 2011, and has since made its way around the world. It’s about time audiences were allowed to say “hello” to The Book of Mormon at their local movie theater.
On September 11, 2001, 38 planes were unexpectedly sent to the small town of Gander, Canada, when terrorists struck the Twin Towers in New York City. Lauded as a reminder of human kindness, this based-on-a-true-story musical about how the residents of Gander helped their unexpected visitors would be a shining light at the box office in the current political climate.
This quirky show composed of short vignettes about Bobby’s life as a single man in New York City would be a perfect match for the big screen. Company originally hit the stage in 1970 and many times after that in various revivals and tours, and it’s about time for a colorful, modern adaptation of this classic show. Someone is waiting for a film version of Sondheim’s classic, and it’s every musical fan everywhere.
With music and lyrics by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen was the Broadway favorite the year following Hamilton’s success. The titular high school character suffers severe social anxiety and fabricates a lie that affects the entire community after a classmate’s suicide. With a cast of great young actors, a movie version of this musical could find a place at the box office.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about Alexander Hamilton took the world by storm just a few years ago. References to the catchy songs and rap lyrics have become part of the zeitgeist, with fans of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities lauding the musical as one of the best of all time. Not making a movie version of this acclaimed musical would be a missed shot for Hollywood, indeed.
This beloved musical has opened and closed several times in the past decades, only to be brought back in 2014 for a run that continues into present day. The retelling of Madam Butterfly set during the Vietnam War has captured the hearts of audiences around the world. Given that the production is so large only certain theaters can accommodate the set, a movie version would bring the epic tale to viewers who haven’t been able to experience the Saigon magic yet.
In a day and age in which society is trying to normalize mental illness, an adaptation of Next to Normal could do wonders. The Brian Yorkey/Tom Kitt rock musical revolves around a suburban family dealing with bipolar disorder, depression, grief, suicide, and drug abuse. With several Tonys and a Pulitzer to its name, a movie version of Next to Normal could draw big names to star as the struggling family of four.
I’m finding new ways to dream with this one and I’m too much in love to care if it’s a bit of a stretch for this list. The epic musical based on the classic film noir deserves its own movie adaptation, in my humble opinion. The stage production is a treat, but a movie version would be simply extravagant — plus, it might just be possible to snag Glenn Close back to the role she originated on Broadway. She is the greatest star of all, after all.
There have been rumors of a Wicked adaptation for several years now, but no concrete evidence as of late. And until I hear some casting news (fingers crossed for Aaron Tveit as Fiero), Wicked still gets a guaranteed spot on this list. The musical adaptation of the alternative telling of the Wicked Witch’s backstory is one of only three Broadway musicals to surpass $1 billion in total revenue and has a beloved spot in many wicked hearts, which would make it a pretty popular film.
Britton Perelman is a writer and storyteller based in Los Angeles, California. When not buried in a book or failing spectacularly at cooking herself a meal, she’s probably talking someone’s ear off about the last thing she watched. She loves vintage typewriters, the Cincinnati Reds, and her dog, Indy. Find more of her work on her website, or follow her on Instagram.
Photo Credit: Hamilton by Joan Marcus via Time Out