That's one example of a musical based on a book not turning out well. Some of the greatest Broadway musicals of all times were based on books. South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Miserables were all based on books. If done right they can turn out to be very good.
That wasn't a musical. That was a play with musical staging. If it was a musical they would've listed it as one. I personally think The Joy Luck Club would make a great musical (I haven't read The Kitchen God's Wife). There's a lot of good characters, interesting themes and the book's multiple narrators and several intertwining vignettes would translate great to the musical world. So many of those chapters could become dramatic monologues or stirring songs. It would also be nice to see more Broadway roles for Asian women.
I would watch the hell out of A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones musical written by Coldplay. Sure its a book turned TV series but it still counts :) I'd like to see a musical of 1984.
Elizabeth von Arnim's 1922 novel The Enchanted April. It was a great movie , a so so play. If done right, it could make a great musical
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