From screen to stage: Movies that became plays

22. October 2012 09:45 by Julie Merar in Theater  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

In years past, it hasn't been unusual to see famous stage shows get made into movies. Everything from Mary Poppins and Glengarry Glen Ross to Chicago and Hairspray have made their way to the big screen. However, more recently the opposite has been true, with famous movies making their way to stage.

The most successful screen-to-stage move as of late is undoubtedly Once. It was originally released in 2006 as a low-budget indie flick starring Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard as a down-on-his-luck vacuum repairman with a dream for music stardom. The movie was a hit thanks in large part to its stellar soundtrack, which included the Academy Award winning song "Falling Slowly."

With such a compelling story and popular tunes, it's no wonder that Once was made into a musical on stage. Since it debuted in New York on 2011, the show has been an undeniable hit, and it's easy to see why since much of the music and story remained the same. In fact, it went on to win several 2012 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Actor.

Once may not have had to change much to be brought to the stage, but that certainly was not the case with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Though not strictly based on the 2002 blockbuster "Spider-Man," the musical, which was written by U2's Bono and The Edge, follows much of the same story - chiefly that it follows Peter Parker as Spider-Man through his battles with the evil Green Goblin.

Spider-Man was certainly an ambitious project, and it holds the distinction of being the most expensive Broadway show in history. But many audiences would it agree that the music and impressive visuals make the high price tag worth it.

Once and Spider-Man may be the latest examples of screen-to-stage shows, but one of the originals remains the most popular - The Lion King. The stage version of the 1994 Disney classic premiered back in 1997, and it has been a hit among audiences ever since.

Not only does the musical include the famous character and music from the film, including "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "Hakuna Matata," but it arguably has the best costumes of any musical production in Broadway history, with some of the more elaborate animal costumes requiring several actors to work.

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