FLASH FRIDAY: Broadway Does Hollywood! Screen To Stage 2014: ROCKY, ALADDIN, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY & Beyond
The 2013-2014 Broadway season is particularly notable for its preponderance of screen-to-stage adaptations, ranging from ROCKY to ALADDIN to BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and more - not to mention this week's big announcement of KING KING: THE MUSICAL coming to NYC soon, as well as BACK TO THE FUTURE hitting the West End - so today we are looking at some of the reasons why these properties in particular are perfect for the boards, and, hopefully, the box office.
Don't Speak, Sing
Like many of those in real life, the relationship between Broadway and Hollywood has always been an on-again/off-again one. The turn-of-the-century super-success of both Baz Luhrmann's game-changing MOULIN ROUGE! and multi-Academy Award-winner CHICAGO ushered in a new era of movie musicals on the mainstage of entertainment and subsequently Broadway has warmed considerably - some would say succumbed to - the allure of Hollywood, as well, with many of its tent pole shows. After all, big screen movies of all types have been the prime candidates for musicalization on the Great White Way insofar as many of the most successful and memorable entities onstage this century are concerned - mega-hits like THE PRODUCERS, NEWSIES, ONCE, and last season's Best Musical KINKY BOOTS all started life as feature films, lest we forget. Yet, the genre-crossing success of GLEE on TV and recent movie musical smash LES MISERABLES has further heightened the love affair between the mediums, offering ample opportunities for the versatile triple-talents capable of both crooning a tune to the back of a full house and dialing down the drama for the camera to excel in new ways. Superstars such as Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Hiddleston, Neil Patrick Harris and more have arrived at just the right moment in entertainment history to show off their considerable skills in many areas, with properties both new and old seemingly perfectly tailored to their vast abilities. Unquestionably, we are in a meta age and the proof is clear to see in the upcoming musicals set to open later this season.
Case in point: Sylvester Stallone's multi-Oscar-winning ROCKY boasts a score by RAGTIME's Tony-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, with a book by famed scribe Thomas Meehan, in perhaps the most hotly anticipated of the new musical entries. So, too, is Disney's next bid at a generation-crossing family-friendly musical hit likely to be found in the long-in-development stage adaptation of 1990s animated classic ALADDIN, boasting a considerably expanded songstack by Alan Menken (with Chad Beguelin adding to Howard Ashman and Tim Rice's celluloid lyrical contributions), directed by Casey Nicholaw. Also, multi-award-winning actor/writer/director Woody Allen is finally crossing Broadway musical writer off of his bucket list via the new Susan Stroman-helmed stage version of his hit 1993 comedy BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. Additionally, a revival of LES MISERABLES instigated largely by the success of the 2012 film is headed our way, as is yet another revival of Kander & Ebb's CABARET featuring the songs composed for the famous Bob Fosse film.
As if all of that Broadway/Hollywood intermingling were not enough, many tuners eyeing the Great White Way if not for this season but for some year soon originate in tinsel town, as well - HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, DINER: THE MUSICAL, FLASHDANCE, REBECCA, COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER and REAR WINDOW, not to mention the aforementioned KING KONG and BACK TO THE FUTURE, to cite only a handful of already-announced forthcoming entities. Indeed, looking at this year's list and those that are supposedly coming up, the trend is undoubtedly destined to continue, so Broadway babies can hope to celebrate the ones that work like gangbusters along with mourn the unfortunate few that don't make the cut in the coming weeks and months as the season finally starts to heat up - although it might not ever reach the scorching temperatures of Hollywood & Vine, thankfully... especially with the chilly winter in NYC this year!
For more on ROCKY, check out my InDepth InterView with Lynn Ahrens, available here, and Stephen Flaherty, available here. For more on ALADDIN, check out my InDepth InterView with Alan Menken, available here. For more on BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, check out my InDepth InterView with Susan Stroman, available here.
A Whole New World
So, now let's set our sights on the three most notable stage-to-screen properties opening on Broadway in the coming weeks: ROCKY, ALADDIN and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY.
First up, go behind the scenes of ROCKY with the creative team of the new Broadway musical version.
Director Alex Timbers discusses his impressions of ROCKY.
Thomas Meehan explains why ROCKY really belongs on the stage.
Stephen Flaherty on the score for ROCKY.
Lynn Ahrens talks ROCKY's lyrics.
Lastly, meet Broadway's Rocky and Adrian.
Disney hopes to replicate the stage success of BEAUTY & THE BEAST, THE LION KING and NEWSIES with their new Broadway musical venture, ALADDIN. Here is the first teaser for ALADDIN on Broadway.
After that, enjoy this ALADDIN behind the scenes featurette.
Director Casey Nicholaw talks about bringing ALADDIN to the stage.
Lyricist Chad Beguelin on his contributions to ALADDIN.
Finally, take a look at the Broadway marquee coming together and alight.
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY
Woody Allen has conquered Hollywood, but is Broadway really ready? With a surefire audience hit like BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, it could very well be! Take a look at the actors in costume.
Star Zach Braff offers a message to fans.
Experience the first commercial for BULLETS OVER BROADWAY.
The actors discuss director Susan Stroman's unique take on the material.
Following that, Marin Mazzie opens up about her role of Helen Sinclair. Don't speak... sing!
What stage-to-screen transfer are you most looking forward to seeing out of the three discussed and dissected today - ROCKY, ALADDIN or BULLETS OVER BROADWAY? Which one do you think audiences will warm to the most? Furthermore, what big screen property would you like to see adapted for the stage some season soon most of all? Surely, judging by all of the movie musicals coming out this year, it should not be too long before an original movie musical makes it way to Broadway, too!
Let the love affair continue... in 2014, whether on Broadway or in Hollywood, it is truly a whole new world.
More On: Baz Luhrmann, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Hiddleston, Neil Patrick Harris, Sylvester Stallone, Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty.