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6 Successful Broadway Musicals Based on Movies

Updated on September 11, 2014
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Old Broadway

  • Located in New York City, there are 40 theatres defined as Broadway theatres.
  • Only four Broadway theatres are located specifically "on Broadway", the others are dispersed along the Theatre District in Manhattan.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber holds the spots for #1 and #2 longest running shows: The Phantom of the Opera (1988), and Cats (1982).
  • With 12 awards Mel Brooks' The Producers (2001) holds the spot for most Tony's won by a Musical.
  • Broadway shows have become one of the largest garners of tourism for New York City, and boasts a yearly intake of over $1 billion

The Musical

There has always been a stigma of friendship between film and the musical for viewers who prefer no singing in their narrative. But in recent years, the practice of turning successful films of today into Broadway musicals has become more common. From Spiderman to The Addams Family, many have had a chance at success on Broadway, but they don't always work out as flourishing as their movie counterparts. Here are some films and the musicals based on them that did not crash and burn upon arrival to their Broadway stages.

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Jekyll and Hyde

Opened April 28, 1997

Closed January 7, 2001

An adaptation of the popular horror story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which has itself been remade and adapted on film many times since the silent era (the most recent will be released in 2015). The Broadway version adds music and thrill to the gruesome tale and is rumored to be in development for a motion picture, which would bring the cycle full circle. In its four years onstage Jekyll and Hyde ran for 1,543 performances, was nominated for four Tony Awards and it was it rearranged into a concert performance called Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert. A revival attempt of the musical was sought in 2013, but the production closed shortly after opening.

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Sunset Boulevard

Opened November 12, 1994

Closed March 22, 1997

Based on the Academy Award winning 1950 film of the famed director Billy Wilder, it is only fitting that the musical is written by the acclaimed man of Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber. This production came at a time in the mid-1990's when noir was regaining popularity in the entertainment industry. With a common three year run and Glenn Close as Norma Desmond, the musical Sunset Boulevard won a slew of Tony's including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Actress in a Musical and was nominated for many more. Altogether putting on 977 performances the production brought a classic film back into relativity for a new generation to enjoy.

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Shenandoah

Opened January 7, 1975

Closed August 7, 1977

Telling the story of a family placed in the middle of the Civil War and the trials of right and wrong during a time of discontent. The film Shenandoah (1965) stars James Stewart, while the Broadway production saw John Cullum as the widower father with six boys. The Broadway show brought audiences back to a time almost forgotten to tells a story that can be placed anywhere in time. Cullum was praised for his portrayal of a spirit driven father and awarded a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance while the show itself was nominated for four others. It had a decent running with 1,050 performances in three seasons on Broadway.

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Titanic

Opened April 23, 1997

Closed March 21, 1999

Fresh off the worldwide success of James Cameron's Titanic (1997) the musical version ran two years on Broadway with a total of 804 performances. While the story was not strictly taken from the 1997 film, this adaptation did not suffer from an up-staging in differences. It tells the story of the Titanic's maiden voyage from the point of view of the crew and passengers on their doomed passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, there is the added advantage of musical numbers to lighten the burden of the ending. With an almost unmanageable set, a positive review was a rarity from critics and attendees. Its fate was seated in its name and it closed without profit. On a bright note, the show picked up 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1997.

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The Color Purple

Opened December 1, 2005

Closed February 24, 2008

History is no stranger to a musical, sometimes the songs help to make a macabre topic a bit more digestible. It is with that mantra I give you The Color Purple: A New Musical. Even being backed by industry heavyweights Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and the Weinstein's, the show saw little success in the way of awards receiving only one Tony win for Best Actress in a Musical. In all it gave a total of 910 performances and since closing has gone onto multiple national tours and various other productions, including a limited run in London.

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Grand Hotel

Opened November 12, 1989

Closed April 25, 1992

Grand Hotel (1932) spared none in the casting with stars such as Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore, and his brother John, it was a ensemble of talent most high for its era. Set in the late 1920's Berlin the story begins and ends in a high class hotel over the course of one weekend. We follow the peculiar company as their lives interweave with one another, from the out of luck Baron to the typist dreaming of stardom, the chronicles are plenty and eccentric. The musical spanned four seasons and garnered five Tony wins, with another seven nominations.

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