Before I begin, let me outline the two criteria for inclusion on the list.
1. It needs to be based on a movie. This eliminates The Lord of the Rings musical and Juile Taymor’s upcoming Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. (incidentally the little blurb I read about the show suggests it has more in common with Kiss of the Spiderwoman than the comic book.) While I don’t doubt that these shows were created as the result of the success of the movies, the musicals are not based on the movies themselves.
2. It has to be more than a half baked idea that is mentioned to MTV. This removes the Fight Club musical from the list, since there doesn’t seem to be anything going on with the adaptation beyond David Fincher's one off the cuff comment and Trent Reznor expressing interest in maybe writing the music. Besides given that the only person talking about it is David Fincher, it seems unlikely ever to happen. Fincher has been attached to too many projects that never materialized to even list here. It has to at the very least have had a reported workshop or reading. But unless something is too interesting to pass up I try my best to stick with musicals that have been produced, even if just regionally or at fringe festivals.
From Screen to Stage:
Ten Musicals Adapted From Unlikely Movies
Based on Ridley Scott’s 2000 Oscar winning film, this musical is still under development. The book and lyrics were written by Roger Hyams, and the music was by Gavin Greenway (incorporating the Hans Zimmer themes from the film).
This is the one entry that overlaps with Virgin Media’s list, and I thought it best to get it out of the way. The workshop was originally held at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood in May of 2006. Immediately the workshop there was some effort to bring the show to London’s West End. The internet was buzzing with the news that the show was to star Brian Stokes Mitchell as Maximus, and heading the production was to be William Nicholson. Nicholson wrote the screenplay for the Ridley Scott Film. Since those initial 2006 press releases and rumors there does not appear to be much forward movement.
Xanadu is a 2007 musical comedy with a book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, based on the 1980 Olivia Newton John flop of the same name which was, in turn, inspired by the 1947 Rita Hayworth film Down to Earth.
Cheyenne Jackson (Sonny) and Kerry Butler (Clio). Picture from AP Photo/Paul Kolnik Studio, Peter Lueders
Directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Dan Knechtges, the musical opened on Broadway where it earned an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Best Book.
Based on the 1936 propaganda film Reefer Madness (aka Tell Your Children) (aka Dope Addict) (aka Doped Youth) (aka The Burning Question), this musical satire opened in Los Angeles in 1998. The book and lyrics were written by Kevin Murphy and the music was composed by Dan Studney and the show was originally directed by Andy Fickman (who has since moved on to Race to Witch Mountain).
Based on the 1991 Academy Award winning psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs, directed by Jonathan Demme, the musical was created by Jon and Al Kaplan. Silence! premiered at the Lucile Lortel Theater during the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival, and was directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli.
The project originally premiered as a handful of songs on available on the internet. The recordings became so popular that the live show was conceived and staged. If you visit Jon and Al Kapan’s website you can enjoy their other parodies including: 24: Season Two: The Musical, "What's in the Box?" from Se7en: The Musical , "I'm Not Going to Be Ignored, Dan" from Fatal Attraction! The Musical, and "Murphy, It's You" from RoboCop: The Musical.
Based on a 1978 pornographic film Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical was a 2002 Off-Broadway musical. Conceived by Susan L. Schwartz the musical was adapted and originally directed by Erica Schmidt; with music composed by Andrew Sherman; Tom Kitt and Jonathan Callicutt provided additional music and lyrics.
Needless to say while the musical was raunchy it contains far less sexual content than the movie.
Based on Colin Higgins screenplay for Hal Ashby’s 1971 cult classic, this 1982 musical had book and lyrics by Tom Jones (one of the creators of The Fantasticks) and music by Joseph Thalken. The musical debuted in 2005 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee.
9. The FlyThis 2008 opera was based on David Cronenberg's 1986 film The Fly which was based on the short story of the same name by George Langelaan. The music was composed by Howard Shore with the libretto being provided by playwright David Henry Hwang.
Ruxandra Donose (Veronica) and Daniel Okulitch (Seth Brundle)
It's an opera I know, but tell me that a singing Brundlefly isn't the strangest idea you ever heard? It should be noted that unlike most musical adaptations of movies the opera version of The Fly was created by a number of the 1986 film’s creative team. David Cronenberg, Howard Shore, and Denise Cronenberg (the director’s sister and frequent collaborator) all worked on both the film and the opera.
10. Little Shop of Horrors
Based on the low-budget 1960 Roger Corman comedy, this 1982 musical had book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music from Alan Menken. The original Off Broadway run was also directed by Howard Ashman.
Lee Wilkof (Seymour) and Marty Robinson (Audrey II)
Little Shop of Horrors is the father of all musical adaptations of cult films. Evil Dead The Musical, and the upcoming Toxic Avenger The Musical all wish to have half the critical acclaim and success of Menken and Ashman's five year and 2209 performance run.
Apparently the material is far enough along that they put together a reading in Hollywood. The readings included Kristen Bell from "Veronica Mars" as Veronica Sawyer and Christian Campbell as J.D.. Bell and Campbell it should be noted were in the New York cast of Reefer Madness.