Broadway's 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical' Is Becoming A Movie, Plus 3 Other Musicals That Should Make Their Big Screen Debut — VIDEO
Taking a Broadway musical from the stage to the movie screen can either be hit or miss. 2002's adaptation of Chicago was a huge, Oscar-winning hit, while last month's The Last Five Years pretty much flopped. But Hollywood's not done with Broadway musicals just yet — Sony and Tom Hanks' production company are planning to bring Beautiful: The Carole King Musical to the big screen soon. Sony has already obtained the rights to the songs and life of King, the legendary songwriter behind hits like "One Fine Day," "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," and "You've Got a Friend." It's one among many musicals on the Great White Way that deserve the movie screen treatment.
Naturally, there are so many questions about how Beautiful will translate to the big screen. Will it include stars Jessie Meuller (who won a Tony for her portrayal of King) and Jake Epstein (who, to me, always will be Craig Manning from Degrassi: The Next Generation)? Will non-theater geeks flock to see the film? Previous musical adaptation have had varying degrees of success with keeping some or all of the original cast (see: 2005's meh Rent adaptation, 2014's Jersey Boys) or going with an all Hollywood cast (2007's hit Hairspray, 2012's Les Miserables).
While there's no right or wrong way to bring Broadway to the big screen, there are still lots of musicals that deserve the Hollywood treatment, too. Here are some that I'd like to make the leap.
The Book of Mormon
How has this one not happened already? This Tony Award-winning smash from the creators of South Park is one of the biggest musicals of the decade — and one of the funniest, too. Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and Robert Lopez's musical has incredibly catchy songs, so many laughs, and a lot of heart. Plus, we can thank it for launching the Hollywood acting careers of Tony-nominated actors Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad.
But will they ever bring the hilarity to the big screen? There's been talk about it since the musical's debut in 2011 and it will most likely be adapted by Stone and Parker themselves, who set up their company Important Studios in 2013 to produce projects, including The Book of Mormon movie.
With the resurgence of The Muppets, it's a wonder why their Broadway puppet cousins from Avenue Q haven't gotten their own movie yet. This realistic and hilarious human/puppet hybrid musical premiered in 2004 to rave reviews and won three Tony awards, including Best Musical.
Producer Kevin McCollum is definitely interested in making a movie version of the musical. "It's something I'm very, very motivated to make happen with the author's blessing," he said. "Film is much more of a brand business whereas on Broadway you can do complete unknowns and have hits. I think we're at that point where it is time to really look seriously at bringing Avenue Q to film."
It's not even on Broadway yet, but Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop Alexander Hamilton musical is the hottest ticket in New York City right now. I can only hope this means maybe one day I can see it on the big screen. After all, his follow-up to his Tony-award winning hit In the Heights seems tailor made for the movies, because Hollywood loves biography films.
Hamilton chronicles the life and times of Hamilton, founding father of the United States, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and, yeah, that guy who perished in a duel with Aaron Burr. The musical blends hip-hop, Brit-pop, and a diverse cast with American history and has garnered rave reviews and sold-out crowds. Hamilton finishes its run at the Public Theater in NYC in May, before officially opening in July at the Richard Rodgers theater in July, where In the Heights ran for three years.
What about an In the Heights movie? Well, those plans have stalled for a bit. Miranda said in a Reddit AMA last year: "It got bogged down in budget issues, it's no one's fault, but it's actually a good thing that version of the movie didn't get made. We are working with a really experienced producer on finding the right partner to make the movie."