Why Are There So Many Musical Adaptations On Broadway?
Start writing a post
Theater

With Adaptations Of 'Mean Girls,' 'Harry Potter' And 'Frozen,' It's Clear That Theatre Has Let Itself Go

What type of significance does a movie need to have in order to be adapted to the stage rather than creating something based on an original idea?

99
Open seats in a theater

If you're anything like me, you have most theatre-related news sent straight to your phone to ensure that you are always up to date on the latest news. This news usually includes the newest shows opening on Broadway. By newest, I mean the newest movie adaption.

Let's take a look at this past season, for instance. With shows like "Mean Girls," "Frozen," and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," it almost seems as if the theatre is lost without the ability to use a film as the starting point for a live work of art. Even "SpongeBob" got his own music his own music on the Great White Way.

The trouble is, none of these movies used for inspiration would exist without the theatre in the first place. It was the creativity of performing a live, original scene and recording it that made creating a movie possible. In the age of instant streaming, are playwrights and other artists of the theatre becoming lazy? What type of significance does a movie need to have in order to be adapted to the stage rather than creating something based on an original idea?

The lack of unoriginality in such a creative field doesn't end at movies. "The Cher Show," a musical about the singer's life that will include her own music, is about to open on Broadway this fall. Not to put down the work that has gone into this production, but a biopic about an artist's life that includes their own music (known as a jukebox musical) isn't exactly a groundbreaking development in the theatre as displayed in the past by "Jersey Boys," "Mamma Mia," "Beautiful," "The Carole King Musical," and many more.

Then again, one could argue that some of the best musicals of all time were adapted from another work. Written in the '50s and '60s though, the following works were not written at a time that was as adaptation heavy as today. "My Fair Lady," a show in which is currently being revived on Broadway, is based off the play "Pygmalion" of a similar plot. The recently closed revival of "Hello Dolly" is an adaption of the play "The Matchmaker."

This raises the question, is such thing as an original musical? Some shows, such as "Hamilton," draw from past events to retell history onstage. Even the plot of the musical "Chicago" is strongly influenced by historical murders committed by the women of the city in the 1920s. Other works, however, are inspired by contemporary issues and events. One of these shows is "Dear Evan Hansen," a musical about a boy with a social anxiety disorder is. Inspired by true events and mental health experiences, could one argue that even this does not count as an original idea? Where is the line between inspiration and unoriginality?

Perhaps there is a fear that original theatre is not good enough on its own to sell tickets, so some familiarity needs to be instilled. While the arts should not be about making money, I acknowledge that ticket sales do contribute to the harsh reality of the entertainment industry. With all said, many movie adaptions of musicals or jukebox musicals are extremely successful and incredibly entertaining. While it's great to celebrate other art by building a musical around it with hopes of large audiences, let's not forget to honor our original ideas for the sake of creating a moving piece of art as a means to express ourselves.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

71038
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

132608
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments