A 'Labyrinth' Stage Show Is In the Works, So Get Ready To "Magic Dance" Into Theaters
Everyone's favorite David Bowie-starring, goblin fantasy cult-film might be heading to the stage. In a recent interview with Forbes, Brian Henson teased that a Labyrinth stage adaptation is in development and could come to a venue as big as a London's West End theater. While there's no scheduled release date, the announcement is good news for fans of the 1986 movie who want to relive its magic in a new setting.
Henson, who is the Chairman of the Jim Henson Company and the filmmaker's son, revealed the plans for the adaptation while promoting the re-release of Labyrinth in select theaters for three days on April 29, May 1 and May 2. Henson told Forbes that both the long-rumored sequel and the stage adaptation are both in the works, but nothing is set in stone yet. He explained:
"We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that. We are working on a theatrical adaptation of the original movie for the stage. Those are the two areas of excitement for the Labyrinth property that we have. We are working on both of those but I certainly don't have a timeline for them."
He added that it wasn't "necessarily" coming to Broadway, but that it would be a big theatrical adaptation.
Though the movie only made $12.73 million in its original release (a loss on its $25 million budget), it has since gone on to have a second life as a cult classic. The story follows a teenage girl Sarah (a young Jennifer Connelly), who wishes for goblins to come take her baby brother away. When the evil creatures do she regrets her wish, and has to find her way through a labyrinth to save her brother from Jareth, the Goblin King (Bowie). Along the way she meets many friendly, and not-so-kind, muppets who populate the massive maze. It also kind of seems like Jareth might have kidnapped the little brother as a chance to get with Sarah, but stealing family members isn't the best way to ask someone out on a date.
Perhaps one of the most enduring parts of the movie is its music. In addition to being a dark, fantasy film it is also a musical featuring original songs by Ziggy Stardust himself. Henson told Forbes,
"The songs were really [Bowie's] part of the film, he made adjustments with my father but that was really what he was bringing to the movie and, of course, his performance as Jareth."
Highlights of the soundtrack include the silly upbeat number "Magic Dance" and the more romantic songs like "Within You" and "As The Wold Falls Down." The latter song was featured in the movie with an elaborate dream-like sequence that involved a masquerade ball with Connelly wearing the sort of poofy '80s gown that would inspire many a child's costume fantasies. It definitely belongs on a stage:
While Henson did not give many details about what the stage adaptation would look like, hopefully if it is a musical adaptation it would include original numbers from the movie. Perhaps it could also get a few news songs as well so that other characters who are not puppets or goblin kings can show off their pipes (give Sarah a song!).
As for other elements of the movie, it would take plenty of artistry to transpose the world of the movie to the stage. The costume designer would also have their work cut out for them re-creating the elaborate, iconic outfits Bowie wore as Jareth — the codpiece alone has been studied by many a fan. It would also take many trained puppeteers to take care of the characters who are not Sarah or Jareth. But, if it was done right, it could be as magical as a goblin king's flying ball.