On Wednesday, news broke of the upcoming To Kill A Mockingbird Broadway play. The show will be brought to life by writer and producer Aaron Sorkin, who has written the screenplay for hits like The Social Network and The West Wing; it’s a change of direction for him, but looking at his impressive track record, I bet he’ll pull it off. The play will open next year, and after last year's controversial Go Set A Watchman , it's about time the attention was brought back to this beloved American classic.
It’s a great time for literary stage shows right now; alongside To Kill A Mockingbird, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is also due to premiere on London’s West End this summer. So while I've got my pearls and binoculars at the ready (that's what you wear to the theater, right?), I can’t help thinking of all the other books that would make fantastic plays. Books that are a little bit dramatic, or a little bit arty — or books that would benefit from some cracking show tunes. And I’ve come up with six books that I would definitely shell out my money to see on a Broadway stage.
1. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
Amsterdam is the story of two friends whose relationship spirals into tragedy and disaster. (What else were you expecting from a McEwan novel?) The final, dramatic scene would be breathtaking on stage — and a set designer could make the Amsterdam backdrop absolutely beautiful.
2. Life by Keith Richards
I never get bored of stage shows inspired by musicians' back catalogues. I danced along in the aisles to Mamma Mia; I even loved the critically-panned We Will Rock You. A Rolling Stones musical would be ace, especially one following the life of legendary rock star Keith Richards.
3. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
If Number the Stars ever made it to Broadway, it would have audiences on the edge of their seats. Lois Lowry's gripping novel tells the story of a Jewish family escaping from Copenhagen during World War II; it was written for children, but I don't know an adult who could remain dry-eyed throughout.
4. Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen
The success of The Lion King has made it pretty clear that children's fantasy stories work magnificently on the stage — and I would just love to see my own childhood favorite, Thumbelina, with her name up in lights. Thumbelina is about a tiny girl no bigger than a thumb, so set design could include towering grass leaves and oversized daisies. I bet it would be a hit.
5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
As far as I'm aware, Sense and Sensibility hasn't made it to a large-scale stage production — and I'd like to see that remedied! This is my favorite of Austen's novels, and spawned my favorite film adaptation, so I'm willing to bet the play would be just as brilliant.
6. Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele
OK, hear me out here. Lea Michele's Brunette Ambition would make the best stage show of all time. Think about it: Lea Michele would play herself, and there would be show-stopping musical numbers every step of the way. Just like the book, the stage show would give us punch-the-air triumphant moments mixed in with some serious fashion envy; audiences would leave with catchy songs in their head and practical life advice tucked under their belts. Brunette Ambition is the book version of Lea Michele: loud, glamorous, high-achieving — and made for the stage.