BWW Flashback: Look Back at Ten of our Favorite Screen-to-Stage Adaptations

Over the years, Hollywood has rolled out many amazing movies, some of the best ideas coming from the Broadway stage. Sometimes though, Broadway gets inspiration from the big screen.

Some adaptations are well known, like SCHOOL OF ROCK, GHOST, BRING IT ON and WAITRESS, and some might be as widely familiar, like AMELIE, THOROGHLY MODERN MILLIE and KINKY BOOTS.

This season alone, MEAN GIRLS, FROZEN and THE BAND's VISIT will make their way to the stage. KING KONG and potentially ROMAN HOLIDAY and MOULIN ROUGE will be joining them.

So, to celebrate these new additions to the Broadway cannon, here is a look back at 10 of the top movies turned Broadway musicals.


Disney has adapted quite a few of their movies to the Broadway stage. THE LION KING and ALADDIN are currently running, and FROZEN will join them in February after a run in Denver.

Disney has also created other modern theater classics like NEWSIES, THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

GHOST (1990)

This movie, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, is considered a modern classic. Swayze's character, Sam, is killed and must find a way to save the love of his life (Moore) from the same fate. The movie was adapted to musical form and had a short Broadway run in 2012, ran on West End, and had two tours in the UK and one in the US.


This Reese Witherspoon movie showed that girls can do anything that they set their mind to. The original Broadway production debuted in 2007 and was recorded and shown on MTV the same year.

MTV also helped cast the next Elle Woods with their program LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL - THE SEARCH FOR ELLE WOODS.


WAITRESS follows a woman in an unhappy marriage as she has an affair with her gynecologist. One of the more recent adaptations, with music by Sara Bareilles, the original film graced the big screen in 2007 and starred Keri Russell and was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, who sadly did not live to see the movie's release.


With the popular songs "Good Morning" and "Singin' in the Rain," this classic film starred the late Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN follows a film star as he tries to move from silent films to making musicals, though his leading lady cannot sing. The original Broadway production hit the stage in 1985 and starred Mary D'Arcy and Don Correia.


BILLY ELLIOT tells the coming of age story about a young boy who wants to dance, despite his disapproving father's wishes. BILLY ELLIOT was adapted for the stage, and played on Broadway beginning in 2008, and has also played on West End.

The show has gone on to tour the US and UK, as well as many other stages internationally. The London production of the musical was also filmed and broadcast live to movie theaters in 2014.


LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS was originally a horror film released in 1960. The movie was turned into a musical that ran Off-Off-Broadway in 1982, before being adapted into a big screen hit in 1986. The production finally made its way to Broadway in 2005.


With music by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, KINKY BOOTS is another recent adaptation, currently gracing the Broadway stage since 2013. The original Broadway cast included Billy Porter and Stark Sands, and has continued to cast legends like Todrick Hall and Brendon Urie.


Originally based on Chazz Palminteri's one-man play, the film version of A BRONX TALE was released in 1993, starring Palminteri and Robert De Niro.

For the musical adaptation Palminteri wrote the book, and De Niro co-directed with Jerry Zaks. A BRONX TALE follows the story of on man's life in and out of the the Italian mob in The Bronx in the '60s.

The original Broadway production opened in 2016 and is currently running.


Starring Gloria Swanson, the iconic Billy Wilder film SUNSET BOULEVARD follows an a silent-film actress hoping to make a comeback in the early days of talkies, and a screenwriter hoping to make it big in Hollywood.

This year, SUNSET BOULEVARD ran a five-month revival on Broadway, where Glenn Close reprised her Tony-winning role of Norma Desmond. Patti LuPone originated the role in London, and actress like Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Petula Clark, and more have also played the role of the aging star.

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From This Author Rachel Crawford

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