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From Film to Stage with Catch Me If You Can

April 11th, 2011

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Catch Me If You Can, the new musical about a teenage con man in the swinging 1960’s, flim-flammed its way onto Broadway last night. Up-and-coming heartthrob Aaron Tviet (Next to Normal) takes the lead though word is that stage stalwarts Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and Kerry Butler (Xanadu) steal the show with their big numbers. Expect lots of slick Mad Men, dancing flight attendants and crafty pastiche songs from the creative dream team behind Hairspray. (I’ll add my two cents after I see the show later this month.)

Like Hairspray, the show is among the steady stream of musicals adapted from popular films. With each new film to stage transfer, purists lament a lack of creativity or a crass bottom-line focus on well-known titles but musicals have long been adapted from other mediums and some truly amazing shows are based on films (A Little Night Music, anyone?) As with so many things in life, it’s all in how you use it. So let’s put on our thinking caps, troll through our DVD collections and find the next Little Shop of Horrors. Of course, I’m not about to tell you the films I want to get the rights to (you little sneaks) but here are three movies that I’ve heard are in some stage of development and that I think would make great musicals:

  • Heathers: With high school cliques gone murderous and a seriously 80’s vibe, it would be like if Grease stopped taking its ritalin. A report from a New York concert reading last year suggests that this one is well on its way.
  • Bullets Over Broadway: Woody Allen’s Faustian farce of backstage antics could be a killer. Unfortunately, the last I heard about it were blanks fired a decade ago.
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: The classic romance (not the silly sitcom) has all the misty, tear-jerking ingredients to make a perfect musical. An adaptation of the movie (and original novel) premiered in LA years ago but since then–out to sea. Someone get me my copyright attorney on the line, stat.

Now it’s your turn. What movies do you think would make amazing musicals?

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