With the recent resurgence in movie musicals, it’s safe to assume that Hollywood will be sending more our way in the near future. After the release and success of movies such as Dear Evan Hansen, In The Heights, and the highly anticipated West Side Story remake, movie musicals are as popular as they’ve ever been.
Of course, some are already in production and slated for release in 2022 and beyond. It’s already been announced that musicals like Wicked, Spring Awakening, and Mean Girls: The Musical will be adapted into films. Though we don’t have specific release dates for any of them yet, just knowing that they’ll continue the movie musical trend is exciting in its own right.
But what about the ones that haven’t been adapted yet? Are there musicals out there that would make stellar films? The answer is absolutely! Here are 10 that we’d like to see get made into movies ASAP.
10. Heathers: The Musical
Heathers: The Musical is originally adapted from the 1989 film Heathers. Since then, there have been numerous attempted reboots, but none were successful. Some failed because they couldn’t match the ambiance of the original, while other variations didn’t deliver the same iconic lines or ones that even came close. The musical, however, gets it right.
The score is catchy and very ’80s-esque, and it’s a fun musical even with all the darkness that festers between the main characters, JD and Veronica. From the memorable lines woven into the songs to even more character development than the movie, Heathers: The Musical would make for a great movie adaptation because it keeps what’s best about the original while improving upon it with its clever score.
Dogfight is another musical previously based on a movie; however it’s been thirty years since that movie came out and the musical brings a fresh take to it. Dogfight follows a group of marines, mainly Eddie, on their last night in San Diego before they go off to fight in the Vietnam War. They decide to celebrate by throwing a Dogfight, a competition centered around who can bring the ugliest date. It’s a complex story nestled inside a seemingly simple premise.
A lot of people are into war movies, especially those about the Vietnam War, so this movie would most likely do well with audiences. Considering that there was already a non-musical movie, a new musical version could draw in old fans as well as garner new ones. There’s tragedy, comedy, and of course romance in Dogfight, everything that makes a great Broadway show and an even better movie.
This musical from Stephen Sondheim centers around its main character, Robert, at his 35th birthday party. Robert’s friends are all there to celebrate with him, but there’s one big difference between Robert and his friends: they’re all happily married, while Robert has huge commitment issues. Not only that, but his three girlfriends are there, too, all wanting a serious relationship and realizing it may never happen.
To some, Company might seem a strange choice for a movie adaptation. After all, it’s a series of vignettes rather than a full story like many other shows. However, because of the rollercoaster event that is Robert’s birthday party, it would be easy to flash backwards and forwards in time to show what’s going on in a film setting. Because of the editing capabilities not available in live theatre, the movie could even cut between vignettes if need be. This is a show that would do wonders in a Hollywood setting.
7. American Idiot
Best known as “the Green Day musical,” American Idiot is a jukebox musical that uses many of Green Day’s most famous songs to tell a story that comments on the world as well as the state of our own country. There’s plenty of drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll, but the deeper meanings and all-too-real scenes are what make this musical unforgettable.
American Idiot would fare well as a movie today because of how divided our country currently is. The show is a commentary on social and political issues, and while it may divide the country the same way politics does, there could always be more media attention on these important issues. Commentary is always necessary and American Idiot is a great musical to help facilitate that.
Sometimes we don’t need musicals to be raging political commentaries⏤sometimes we just want them to be fun. Enter Pippin, a musical that follows a young prince as he sets out to find his place in the world. He’s lost and unsure when a troupe of players find him and push him into different situations that could potentially help him find his purpose in life. Nothing is ever all fun and games, though, and the musical’s dark turn in the finale perfectly illustrates that.
Pippin is a fun and exciting musical, as you can see from the trailer above. If the circus acts don’t grab your attention, then the songs and plot definitely will. Seeing this as a movie with different interpretations and variations on song and theme would be a glorious cinematic spectacle, to say the least.
5. Miss Saigon
Strangely enough, two musicals about the Vietnam War made this list, and they’re both equally good. Miss Saigon is a romantic tragedy loosely based on the famous play Madame Butterfly. It’s about a young woman in Vietnam, Kim, who meets and falls in love with an American soldier. He must leave, and does so without knowing Kim is pregnant. All of this is within the first act, and there’s so much more to the show that we don’t want to spoil!
From the music and the intricate plot to the reality of the horrors that went on in Vietnam, Miss Saigon is one of the musicals most deserving of a movie adaptation. It’s a beautifully tragic story, one that is timeless enough to make for an incredible cinematic experience.
4. Once On This Island
Once On This Island was revived on Broadway in 2017 and has been talked about ever since. It tells the story of a girl, Ti Moune, and her journey through love and even death that was designed by the gods of the island. While it sounds simple enough, the music and messages are so strong and pure that it’s a fit for audience members of all ages.
What makes this musical perfect for the silver screen is its setting and plot. Ti Moune sets out on an adventure across the island, and you can only do so much with that on a stage. In a movie, we’d be able to see the actual island, get a peek at where the gods live, and so much more! Once On This Island would translate really well to the screen and hopefully it will soon.
3. Next to Normal
Nominated for eleven Tony Awards and winning three, Next to Normal is a musical that follows mother Diana and her family as they all struggle with her worsening bipolar disorder and hallucinations of her dead son. It’s an incredibly powerful look into the lives of families who deal with mental health issues, which we need more of a spotlight on in popular media.
After the success of the Dear Evan Hansen on both Broadway and the big screen, now is the perfect time to adapt Next to Normal for audiences who may not have gotten the chance to see it on stage. Having such a raw story out in the mainstream could help end the stigma surrounding mental health and spread the message of how hard things actually are for people who grapple with it on a daily basis. The rock score is also incredible, which is one of the many reasons why Next to Normal also won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010.
2. Come From Away
While Come From Away was recorded on Broadway and recently released on Apple TV Plus, it’s not quite the same as being adapted into an actual movie. Considering that the plot is based on a true story about 9/11, it’s a beautiful and realistic show. It shows how people with no real connections can come together in the midst of a tragedy and discover how much they have in common.
The music alone is enough to warrant a movie, but because it started on stage, a movie version of Come From Away would make everything that much more resonant. The planes, the radio announcements, and all the fear and confusion that occurred on 9/11 would be so much more tangible and make the story even more eye-opening for audiences if brought to life on screen.
Based on the 1997 animated film of the same name, Anastasia follows a fictionalized account of an orphan named Anya. Taking place in twentieth century Russia, it tells the story of how Anya is led to believe that she’s truly the missing duchess Anastasia Romanov. While it’s left to the audience to decide for themselves due to the true history behind the show, it’s still just as beautiful as the animated film.
Now owned by Disney, the stage version of Anastasia would make an incredible live-action movie musical. Not only would the costumes shine on film, but the new music and edited plot would suit the movie for a wider audience, not just children. There have been many edits to the original script, taking out the magical elements and making the story more realistic. Because of the music, updated story, and peoples’ continued interest in the Romanovs, Anastasia would make for an amazing movie musical adaptation.