From the silver screen to your local stage, countless Hollywood hits have inspired theater creators to recreate movie magic as a live theatre experience. Here’s a list of stage adaptations of film musicals, featuring scores that were originally composed for the cinema. Bring the magic of movies to your audience with these guaranteed crowd-pleasers!
The ultimate show-biz musical! 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square and the people who make the magic of musical theatre. This toe-tapping stage spectacle was adapted from the 1933 film directed by Lloyd Bacon.
An American in Paris tells the romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl, and an indomitable European city – each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of international conflict. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning 1951 film, the new stage musical features a ravishing score by George and Ira Gershwin and a fresh, sophisticated book by Tony nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Lucas.
This dazzling show transports its audience from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family.
Cannibal! The Musical originated as a 1993 film, based on the true story of the only person convicted of cannibalism in America – Alfred Packer. The sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, he tells his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Pry as he awaits his execution.
Footloose first burst onto the silver screen in 1984. With dynamic new songs augmenting the powerhouse hits from its bestselling Oscar-nominated score, the musical celebrates the exhilaration of youth, the wisdom of listening to one another, and the power of forgiveness.
Based on Colette’s novel and the 1958 motion picture, Lerner and Loewe’s exquisite musical transports audiences to the elegant atmosphere of Paris in the 1890s. A wealthy and handsome aristocrat named Gaston falls for Gigi, a young and innocent girl raised to be a courtesan.
Cole Porter’s sparkling musical adaptation of The Philadelphia Story, Phillip Barry’s celebrated 1939 romantic comedy, began as a 1956 movie musical. Glittering with wit and sophistication, the score is packed with Cole Porter standards, including “True Love,” “Just One Of Those Things,” “Let’s Misbehave,” and “Well, Did You Evah?”
Based on 1942 film Holiday Inn, this joyous musical features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy and a parade of hit Irving Berlin songs, including “Blue Skies,” “Easter Parade,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “Heat Wave,” “White Christmas,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Shaking the Blues Away” and many more.
This stage adaptation of 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis is a wholesome and enchanting portrait of a turn-of-the-century American family. The Smith family eagerly anticipates the opening of the 1904 World’s Fair. Over the course of a year, the family’s mutual respect, tempered with good-natured humor, helps them through romance, opportunity and heartbreaks.
In 1970, renowned writer/composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse adapted the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol into the hit screen musical Scrooge! This sure-fire audience pleaser is available in two versions: as a full-length musical (US/UK) and in a 55-minute
adaptation (US/UK) that is ideal for small theatre groups and schools, where it can be performed as a short play or as part of a seasonal concert.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical written directly for the screen was made into two films (1945 and 1962) before it hit the Broadway stage in 1996. Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair.
Follow the yellow brick road in this delightful stage adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved novel, featuring the iconic musical score from the 1939 MGM film. The timeless tale, in which young Dorothy Gale travels from Kansas over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz, continues to thrill audiences worldwide. Alternative MUNY version (US/UK) and Youth edition (US/UK) are also available.
Top Hat by Irving Berlin, Howard Jacques & Matthew White (UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
Top Hat brings the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age and the glorious, tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire’s and Ginger Rogers’ world-famous dance partnership to the stage. This 2011 musical, based on the 1935 movie of the same name, tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers, who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont.
Hilarious, brassy and surprisingly touching, Victor/Victoria is a sophisticated musical comedy based on the acclaimed 1982 movie from director Blake Edwards. Musical numbers include “Le Jazz Hot,” “You and Me,” “Paris By Night” and “Crazy World.”
Based on the beloved, timeless 1954 movie, this heartwarming stage adaptation features 17 Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Featuring well-known standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial title song, White Christmas is an uplifting musical worthy of year-round productions.
Header Image: 2015 Kennedy Center Production of Gigi (Joan Marcus).