Our Dream List of Musicals Based on Books

Posted by Gracen Stanczykiewicz on

YOU. GUYS. Mama Mia! Here We Go Again is literally everything we've been waiting for. More ridiculous plot lines, sub-par singing, and tacky arrangements of ABBA’s greatest hits. I was born for this moment. Cheesy movie-musicals are always the best movie-musicals. Still not sure why Meryl subjects herself to such a production, but I am #thankful she does because I. am. here. for. it.

meryl streep mamma mia - books that should be broadway musicals

On that note, musicals have really been on my mind lately. For my fellow theater buffs out there, I think we can all agree that we’ve been blessed with some really incredible shows, and so many of them were based off books. Wicked, Oliver! Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables — just to name a few. (yes, musicals based on books. You own my heart.) There will never be too many great shows on Broadway. There’s always room for more! So Cameron Mackintosh, if you’re out there searching for your next big success, I have a couple ideas for you. Please reference the following list of your future musicals based on books.

Our Dream List of Future Musicals Based on Books

The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger

musicals based on books Because this is literally Meryl’s big week, I figured we’d start out with one of her biggest roles. That’s right. The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical. (Yes I recognize this is already a movie but I want to hear Miranda Priestly belt out some sassy musical numbers, ya feel?) So for those of you who are still confused, The Devil Wears Prada actually originated as a book before becoming a movie. And what’s crazy about this novel is that it was published in 2003 and only 3 years later it became a film. That’s an incredibly quick turnaround! Congrats Lauren Weisberger! I’m thinking the show will have a similar vibe to Legally Blonde: The Musical with lots of upbeat numbers, belting, color imagery, and fabulous costumes (duh). But here’s the situation. Obviously, we have all grown to associate Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt with this story, and rightfully so. They are the original queens. But I’d be really surprised if Meryl was willing to do Broadway, Anne is probably busy, and Emily is already Mary Poppins and, oh by the way, a mother of two. So we’ll have to find someone else. I’m thinking we cast Sutton Foster as Andy Sachs and Megan Hilty as Emily Charlton. I would love to hear your thoughts on who should play Miranda Priestly because she would obviously make or break the production. Apparently, tea is brewing about this musical already being in the works and ELTON JOHN IS COMPOSING THE SCORE! If that’s the case, you already KNOW this production is in good hands and the giant red Prada shoe will look right at home on the front of a Playbill.

Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

musicals based on books I know you might not be ready to hear this but Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is so important. HEAR ME OUT. I cannot emphasize how stinkin’ important it is. Not only is it one of my favorite novels ever but it is a TRUE story so therefore it deserves to be a musical and you know it. (Yes I'm fully aware there's already a movie but we need to get this on the stage people!) So here’s what I’m thinking. Into the Wild: The Musical could definitely go two ways. It’ll either be a more contemporary telling of young adult angst, similar to Dear Evan Hansen, OR Lin-Manuel Miranda writes us another huge hit and Chris McCandless rap-sings throughout the entire show. Either way, the musical will need a strong male lead. I’m feeling major Corey Cott vibes for the role of Chris McCandless. All the various characters that Chris meets throughout his hitch-hiking journey will allow for an all-star cast and phenomenal musical numbers. Because the people he meets are so different, the musical numbers will have to match these characters, hence creating a very diverse soundtrack. Between a hippie-acoustic number, a country number, a patriotic-Eddie-Vedder-style number, and multiple pull-at-your-heart-strings power ballads, Into the Wild: The Musical has the potential to be one of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, sobering musicals of our time. When the final curtain comes down at the end of the show, the audience will be frozen in their seats, unable to move because they’re questioning everything about life. Literally everything. I love it. And because it’s a true story, you KNOW that every single conspiracy theorist person who has been following Chris McCandless’s story since 1992 will make a b-line to see it. Hear that sound? It's the sound of this show printing money.

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

musicals based on books WHERE YA AT Norm Lewis?! Because we’re gonna need you for this one. SCREWTAPE LETTERS: THE MUSICAL !! Listen. You might be sitting there thinking, “Screwtape Letters? You’re really suggesting that a book about demons and sin would be a great musical? What’s so show-tuney about that?” You’re right. Okay?! You’re right. It’s exactly what you wouldn’t expect a musical to be. Which is why it would be an AMAAAAAAZING musical. I’m feeling some real Phantom of the Opera vibes here. When Andrew Lloyd Webber pitched his idea to adapt that novel into a musical, did everyone in the room give him a standing ovation?!

Probably not.

Okay if you told me a super dark musical about a guy who HAUNTS and STALKS a vulnerable female would become a million-dollar, award-winning production I probably would’ve laughed in your face. But LOOK WHO IS LAUGHING NOW. It's ALW and he can't hear you while he's in his money bath. But that’s exactly how I feel about Screwtape Letters. It will have to be very dark and very operatic. (Once again I am fully aware that this book already has a play adaptation, but that's not good enough for me. I want to hear these letters set to music!!!) Which is exactly where Norm Lewis comes in. Norm is obviously Uncle Screwtape (the senior demon who’s teaching his nephew how to tempt a human into sin ya know the usual), Ramin Karimloo as Wormwood (Screwtape’s unexperienced nephew who’s charged with guiding a human towards sin ya know the usual), and a phenomenal dancer as The Patient (the human whom Wormwood is tempting). I envision Screwtape singing multiple monologue-y power ballads, and Wormwood singing darker song-and-dance type songs as he messes with The Patient without him noticing. While all of this is happening, the Patient is simply dancing through life – I might even go as far to say that he is doing ballet. I think the beauty of ballet will juxtapose nicely with the darkness of the evil demons. And for that reason, I would probably not give the Patient any verbal lines. Definitely up for debate, though. Discuss amongst yourselves.

The Bailey Flanigan Series - Karen Kingsbury

musicals based on books Finally, I present to you the entirety of The Bailey Flanigan Series by Karen Kingsbury as one musical. I’m still struggling with the title because the musical would encompass all four novels in the series: Leaving, Learning, Longing, and Loving. Btw this is one of my favorite series of all time so puhlease fangirl over it with me. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it centers around three people: Bailey Flanigan (duh), Cody Coleman, and Brandon Paul. Bailey Flanigan is the girl-next-door character who wants to become an actress and star on Broadway. Cody Coleman is the boy-next-door character who happens to be Bailey’s best friend and love interest of many years. And Brandon Paul is the typical Hollywood star character: super famous, super rich, and super conceited. So basically I’m gonna tell you what happens throughout all 4 books without giving away any spoilers. Here we go! While Cody coaches football at a high school in Indianapolis, Bailey keeps doing her Broadway thing in NYC. The long distance puts a strain on their relationship. Bailey’s former co-star/friend, Brandon Paul, reappears in her life as a changed man and no longer a conceited jerk. Neat! The two become really close “friends,” and now Bailey is stuck between two great guys. Stuff happens. More stuff happens. Everyone is learning about love and self-discovery and God’s plan for their lives. And then the grand finale comes…who will Bailey choose to marry: the redeemed Hollywood star or her first love? This is the spot where readers usually become either Team Cody or Team Brandon. Anyway, it’s low-key dramatic, but also an incredibly substantive, beautiful, and brilliant explanation of how God moves and works in our lives even when we don’t see it.

Here's the plan:

Imagine a more contemporary version of Les Misérables. It has all the main components: the character who experiences grace and redemption and turns his life around, the ambitious character who is respected and sought after in the community, the loyal best friend character who wants someone they can’t have, and of course – the infamous love triangle. We’re talking about a musical where every line is sung, and people are singing over each other constantly. That’s the only way we’re going to condense all 4 novels into one, 3 hour production. So here’s my dream cast: Laura Osnes as Bailey, Aaron Tveit as Cody, and Zac Efron as Brandon. There are plenty of other important characters in the story as well, so just like Into the Wild: The Musical, this one will totally allow for an all-star cast. So Cameron Mackintosh, please do the reading community a favor and produce at least one of these musicals based on books. I’m sure your good friend, Andy Lloyd Webber, would be more than happy to slap together an incredible arrangement for you. At this point, I’ve basically handed you four great ideas for your next Tony Award-winning production. All you have left to do is take-a-chance-take-a-chance-take-a-take-a-chance-chance! mamma mia take a chance on me scene - books that should be broadway musicals

What are some of your dream remakes for musicals based on books?

In a former life, Gracen was most definitely a Broadway star. Today, however, she is a full-time intern and part-time Google master. When Gracen's not at the office, you can find her hiking the hills of Tennessee, spilling tea with her sister, and eating Taqueria del Sol to her heart's content. More articles by our fabulous interns! Joyful Books to Start Spring Right and Books for a Solo Vacation by Intern Savannah Make Your Mornings Not Terrible by Intern Mitch 7 Retellings and Modern Classic Books You Need ASAP by Intern Marisa HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., (HCCP) operates Page Chaser, the publisher of The Bailey Flanigan Series. HCCP is owned by HarperCollins Publishing, Inc, the publisher of The Screwtape Letters.
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