Broadway Musicals that Deserve Film Adaptations or Remakes?

Lanie J
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Here are mine.

Adaptations-

Waitress

The Color Purple

Once on This Island

Sunset Boulevard (we need this Glenn Close version ASAP)

The Light in the Piazza

Footloose

Remakes-

The King and I (Unlikely, but I want to see a version with Asians playing the Asians)

A Chorus Line (It deserves better, and i deserves a revival while we're at it.)

Bye Bye Birdie (Not that there's anything wrong with it, I just think it has a lot of potential for a modern update)

 

Thoughts?

 

Updated On: 6/16/20 at 09:12 AM
Alex Kulak2
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Let Robert Eggers make a good movie version of Sweeney Todd.

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Parade and Ragtime are high on my wish list
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I think you have to consider what musicals would be 'enhanced' by the medium of film. Pretty much all the great movie adaptations of Broadway musicals - from THE SOUND OF MUSIC, to WEST SIDE STORY to MY FAIR LADY, OLIVER, FIDDLER and even CHICAGO were able to use the medium of cinema to tell the story in a way you just can't do on stage.  

On the flip side, the trap to SWEENEY TODD, LES MISERABLES and PHANTOM was that the musicals on stage were larger than life - the minute they were put in realistic settings: dingy small rooms, backstage dressing rooms, narrow alley ways, the material felt claustrophobic.

And it also largely comes down to having a director who really understand how to direct a musical for the screen.

I think RAGTIME and THE COLOR  PURPLE  could make exciting movie musicals. I think SUNSET BOULEVARD,  PARADE, and A CHORUS LINE would seem claustrophobic on film.  The first film of A CHORUS LINE was a horrible adaptation, but illustrated a lot of ways why the piece itself isn't a good fit for the cinematic medium. It would be nice to have a proper filmed document of the stage production though.

I could see WAITRESS or PIAZZA being done on a smaller scale but can't imagine much of an audience for the later.

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I think the documentary "Every Little Step" is a perfect film representation of "A Chorus Line." In fact when Michael Bennett was first considering making a film version he said the film would have to be different to work and it should be a movie about people auditioning for the show "A Chorus Line." Very meta. LOL!

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“Miss Saigon” - if done and adapted right could be an Oscar contender

“The Color Purple” - would be a great TV movie...maybe two parter.

“Carousel” - remake would be great

“Hello, Dolly!” - TV movie with Bette Midler would be amaaaazing.

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Broadway Bob* said: "I think the documentary "Every Little Step" is a perfect film representation of "A Chorus Line." In fact when Michael Bennett was first considering making a film version he said the film would have to be different to work and it should be a movie about people auditioning for the show "A Chorus Line." Very meta. LOL!"

Or just a director who knows what the material is about. Attenborough felt it should be a movie about young people trying to break into the business, and that the Cassie/Zack romance/history should be the driving plot point.

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Here me out --I think David Lynch could deliver a sublime, definitive adaption of Anyone Can Whistle.

The piece is drowning in cynicism and harsh truths dressed up in pleasant clothes. There is no one better equipped at illustrating the subtextual horrors of suburban America than David Lynch.

Also Laura Dern as Cora Hoover Hooper... *chef's kiss*

ImaginaryManticore
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I'd love to see more eccentric directors adapt musicals and do something different. Stage musicals have moved on so much since the big old movie musicals, so I wish their adaptations would reflect that.

I think the book 'On the Line' could be adapted into a screen version of A Chorus Line. It's the story of the making of the musical told through interviews with the original company, going from the tape sessions through the auditions and workshops and productions. Very meta! When I read it I came up with an entire outline... you could incorporate the songs with both the backstage context and onstage meanings. Of course, last summer Ryan Murphy announced he wanted to do a miniseries about the making of A Chorus Line, so never mind!

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Waitress 100%. I'm shocked it hasn't been announced yet. It has the appeal and the popularity and the big name stars (Sara Bareilles, Colleen Ballinger, Keala Settle, Joey McIntyre, Jack McBrayer, Al Roker) in their roles. And honestly, I would love love to see Taylor Swift as Jenna. That's the role she deserves and is perfect for!

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g.d.e.l.g.i.
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Alex Kulak2 said: "Let Robert Eggers make a good movie version of Sweeney Todd."

I'm not familiar with Robert Eggers' work, so I can't co-sign him as director, but I can definitely concur that Tim Burton got it wrong and that the show needs a proper film adaptation. Burton missed the boat all the way around by turning it into yet another example of his limited oeuvre. 

One thing that struck me when I first listened to the score was, "Wow... this doesn't sound like it was written in the late Seventies." (Not that you can restrict Sondheim's work to any specific era, except maybe Company or West Side Story.) It sounded very like an MGM musical in places. And it struck me that if I ever made it as a film, I'd have leaned into that, creating a feature that turned all the tropes of classic Golden Age film musicals on their head, sort of an anti-"MGM musical" where everybody dies. Very over the top and stylish and broad, as if it were directed by Ken Russell in his Boyfriend period, with proper attention to the music and not that whisper-sung nonsense.

Also... I know I'm beating a dead horse in saying so, but what really went right up my ass, pardon the phraseology, was cutting the ensemble. They can talk all they want about their justification, it's B.S. It's a musical, so we expect ensemble singing, as unrealistic as they find it to be. The whole character of certain songs was lost, and sometimes even the title, like why the hell call it "God, That's Good!" anymore if you never hear that phrase even once?

Plus, after reading the screenplay and learning how "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" would have worked, with the ghosts of Sweeney's victims recurring throughout the film, both as their ghost selves (sort of omniscient narrators; it was kind of implied that the story is being relived) and as themselves before they got killed, I was particularly incensed to lose that. Seeing the sole remnant of it -- Anthony Stewart Head is still in the film (as his "alive" self, asking if Sweeney has a shop in the Pirelli sequence) because the ax didn't come down on those scenes until after they'd already filmed his bit -- sticks out to someone who knows what's missing.

What really bugs me is that the artistic justification for cutting the ensemble is, in my opinion, total bull. As I understand it, Burton was all set to film them until Johnny Depp's daughter got sick. Johnny rushed to the hospital to be with her, Tim rushed to the hospital to be with Johnny (because... moral support, I guess?), and it set the schedule back enough that ensemble stuff wound up on the cutting room floor. Tim later justified it with all his crap about singing ensembles being unrealistic, but it always struck me as a hastily thought up excuse after the fact. I mean, I wasn't there; I have no clue how serious the health situation actually was, and besides that, maybe executive meddling was involved, maybe he was all set to go back and do it and the studio was like "Look, it got pushed way behind schedule, something's gotta go." But if so, I don't want to hear how you justified it to yourself. Just be honest. Say the studio killed it or that you done goofed. Don't try to claim this was something you wanted to do going in, you don't hire Christopher Lee (seriously) to leave him in the dustbin. It's disingenuous.

(Especially when production didn't need to halt for Tim to rush to Johnny's side. Shit like that is what second unit directors are for, go in and get all the stuff that doesn't have to involve the leads. Let Tim watch it when he comes back. If something doesn't look right, let him re-shoot. It's not a difficult concept.)

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Updated On: 6/18/20 at 10:25 AM
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I think we're due for Assassins.

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Yes to Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close.

We need two remakes and fast!

“ A Little Night Music” , and “Mame”.
Alex Kulak2
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g.d.e.l.g.i. said: "Alex Kulak2 said: "Let Robert Eggers make a good movie version ofSweeney Todd."

I'm not familiar with Robert Eggers' work, so I can't co-sign him as director, but I can definitely concur that Tim Burton got it wrong and that the show needs a proper film adaptation. Burton missed the boat all the way around by turning it into yet another example of his limited oeuvre.

One thing that struck me when I first listened to the score was, "Wow... this doesn't sound like it was written in the late Seventies." (Not that you can restrict Sondheim's work to any specific era, except maybeCompanyorWest Side Story.) It sounded very like an MGM musical in places. And it struck me that if I ever made it as a film, I'd have leaned into that, creating a feature that turned all the tropes of classic Golden Age film musicals on their head, sort of an anti-"MGM musical" where everybody dies.Very over the top and stylish and broad, as if it were directed by Ken Russell in hisBoyfriendperiod, with proper attention to the music and not that whisper-sung nonsense.

Also... I know I'm beating a dead horse in saying so, but what really went right up my ass, pardon the phraseology, was cutting the ensemble. They can talk all they want about their justification, it's B.S. It's a musical, so we expect ensemble singing, as unrealistic as they find it to be. The whole character of certain songs was lost, and sometimes even the title, like why the hell call it "God, That's Good!" anymore if you never hear that phrase even once?

Plus, after reading the screenplay and learning how "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" would have worked, with the ghosts of Sweeney's victims recurring throughout the film, both as their ghost selves (sort of omniscient narrators; it was kind of implied that the story is being relived) and as themselves before they got killed, I was particularly incensed to lose that. Seeing the sole remnant of it -- Anthony Stewart Head is still in the film (as his "alive" self, asking if Sweeney has a shop in the Pirelli sequence) because the ax didn't come down on those scenes until after they'd already filmed his bit -- sticks out to someone who knows what's missing.

What really bugs me is that the artistic justification for cutting the ensemble is, in my opinion, total bull. As I understand it, Burton was all set to film them until Johnny Depp's daughter got sick. Johnny rushed to the hospital to be with her, Tim rushed to the hospital to be with Johnny (because... moral support, I guess?), and it set the schedule back enough that ensemble stuff wound up on the cutting room floor. Tim later justified it with all his crap about singing ensembles being unrealistic, but it always struck me as a hastily thought up excuse after the fact. I mean, I wasn't there; I have no clue how serious the health situation actually was, and besides that, maybe executive meddling was involved, maybe he was all set to go back and do it and the studio was like "Look, it got pushed way behind schedule, something's gotta go." But if so, I don't want to hear how you justified it to yourself. Just be honest. Say the studio killed it or that you done goofed. Don't try to claim this was something you wanted to do going in, you don't hire Christopher Lee (seriously) to leave him in the dustbin. It's disingenuous.

(Especially when production didn't need to halt for Tim to rush to Johnny's side. Shit like that is what second unit directors are for, go in and get all the stuff that doesn't have to involve the leads. Let Tim watch it when he comes back. If something doesn't look right, let him re-shoot. It's not a difficult concept.)
"

Robert Eggers directed The VVitch and The Lighthouse, both psychological horror period movies. He goes super in depth to research how people of the era talked and acted. Imagine Sweeney Todd bathed in gripping, unflinching realism, instead of the cartoonish candy-coated version we got.

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Show Boat with Lily James as Magnolia Hawks and her daughter Kim (as an adult) and Lady Gaga as Julie LaVerne 

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Would kill for a move adaptation of "City of Angels"

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I agree about Bette Midler's DOLLY, only I would hope for a "Live in HD" version filmed in front of a live audience.
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I agree about Bette Midler's DOLLY, only I would hope for a "Live in HD" version filmed in front of a live audience.
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ImaginaryManticore
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I've never seen the film of Sweet Charity, so maybe I'm doing Bob Fosse no justice here. But I'd be very interested to see one of today's directors take on the material. Now it would be a period piece, but the story could be looked at with a modern sensibility. Imagine it being made by someone like Olivia Wilde, who directed Booksmart.

And I wonder what happened to the screen version of Beautiful they announced ages ago. That could make a good movie.

Also: Honk! Where is its animated adaptation?

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Les Miserables deserves a real adaptation and not that practical joke we got.

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Same reason. The scores were cut to ribbons for each one.
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No stage musical "deserves" a film adaptation. Adaptations should be done only where somebody has an idea of how the material would be "improved" in film or video form. (I put quotes around "improved" because it's quite possible to think a project was perfect on stage, yet perfect only if different on film.)

The commercial drive to do live-action film adaptations is why we get such tepid versions of LES MISERABLE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

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lesmizsaigon said: "“Miss Saigon” - if done and adapted right could be an Oscar contender

Miss Saigon, as is, will never see an adaptation within our lifetime. Truly, I would like to see the Academy reward such a racist piece with no backlash. Not happening. 

 

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ImaginaryManticore said: "I've never seen the film of Sweet Charity, so maybe I'm doing Bob Fosse no justice here. But I'd be very interested to see one of today's directorstake on the material. Now it would be a period piece, but the story could be looked at with a modern sensibility. Imagine it being made by someone like Olivia Wilde, who directed Booksmart."

Just watch Nights of Cabiria. 


 

 

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A Little Night Music

directed by Ang Lee

screenplay by Jez Butterworth

Rachel Weisz, Michelle Pfeiffer or Kate Winslet as Desiree
Patrick Wilson as Frederick
Rita Moreno as Madame Armfeldt
Laura Osnes as Anne
Cynthia Erivo, Katrina Lenk, Martha Plimpton or Lauren Ambrose as Charlotte
Cheyenne Jackson as Carl-Magnus
Elizabeth Stanley as Petra 
Darren Criss as Henrik
 

Updated On: 6/22/20 at 11:53 AM