Hollywood is moving!

Did you know that Hollywood studios are attempting to make Broadway an east coast Sunset Boulevard? Okay, that is a bit of an over-dramatization, but it is slowly happening.

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A large number of new musicals are adaptations from some of our favourite movies. I mean look at the four nominees for this year’s Tony Award for Best Musical:

  • Kinky Boots
  • Matilda
  • Bring It On
  • A Christmas Story

Do any of these names sound familiar? Well they should as they are also the names of four incredibly successful movies which provide the foundation for their musical adaptions. And surprisingly, rather than just licensing the storylines out to Broadway producers, the big Hollywood studios are deciding to develop these movies for themselves.

This shouldn’t actually come as a surprise as Disney has been producing its own shows for many years now with such successes as The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast and Newsies. But because they were the only big studio, no one gave them a second thought. But now that all the other companies are getting involved, they are also starting to get caught out!

Coming up on Broadway are musical adaptions of Big Fish, The Bridges of Madison County, Bullets over Broadway (How suitable!) and Rocky. I know, you never thought you were going to see Rocky with singing . . . but it is on its way!

And not far behind them are many other productions. Universal is looking to develop Back to the Future and The Sting, Twentieth Century Fox has plans for Mrs Doubtfire and The Devil Wears Prada and Warner Bros. is even looking to musicalize the incredibly successful Magic Mike.

While there is a large mix of happiness and outrage at this news, there are some very good reasons for supporting this news. Firstly, these companies will be bringing their incredible wealth to stage shows and that could lead to huge innovations and advancements like we have seen within Disney productions.

Secondly, by producing well-known movie favourites, Broadway’s doors open to an even greater market of people. I mean how many people, who have never contemplated seeing a musical, will Rocky bring to Broadway (and musical theatre as a whole) if it is a success?

Finally, more work for actors as these companies start to develop more new shows than ever before, with budgets higher than our wildest dreams.

But on the other hand, it does mean less freelance jobs for producers (but more salaried jobs with less risk as pointed out in this fantastic article!). And while I tend to support the former who think this is a great idea, I do have one question.

Were these movies popular because they were well-written with a great storyline or was it because of the celebrities who stared in them?

This is possibly the most important question that needs to be asked when turning a movie into a musical. And I will be looking at this issue in more depth in a couple of days, but in the meantime let me know your feeling about big Hollywood studios moving into Broadway in the comments below!

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