Broadway fishing for ideas in film
Broadway and Hollywood have always had a close relationship, and a recent trend has brought stories from the silver screen to the stage. It seems the days of originality have come to an end. Broadway has run out of ideas, so they are turning to movies — sometimes awful movies — for inspiration.
Xanadu is one of the worst movies ever made. Starring Olivia Newton-John, the film tells the story of a Greek muse who comes to Los Angeles to inspire an artist to open a roller-disco club. It was so dreadful I couldn’t even sit through the entire thing. So, one can imagine my shock when I heard it was getting turned into a Broadway musical.
Even though the movie was a waste of film, the musical, surprisingly, was not that bad. It had a pretty well-known cast as far as Broadway goes, and the score was decent, though not very memorable.
Cry-Baby is another awful movie that managed to make its way to the glimmering lights of Broadway. “Corny” and “stupid” are two words that come to mind when thinking of the movie. Its only redeeming factor is the fact that it stars heartthrob Johnny Depp.
It’s no surprise that the musical was bad as well. It only lasted two months on Broadway, which is a slap in the face considering it takes years to get a show up and running.
Even Disney wants to cash in on Broadway. Disney made numerous movie musicals in the ‘90s, so the transition from the screen to the stage seems only natural. At first, the biggest obstacle to overcome was the issue of animation. It was quite a difficult task to bring animated African animals from the Serengeti to life on Broadway, but at least the music was already done.
The Lion King has been on Broadway for over 10 years and has won six Tony awards, including Best Musical. The creative minds at Disney must have done something right.
But the biggest shocker of all time for a movie getting turned into a musical has to be The Lord of the Rings. Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn sing and dance on stage. Even Gollum/Smeagol gets his own solo (or duet rather).
The Lord of the Rings has not made its way to America yet, but it did run in London’s West End. It is the most expensive musical in West End history and received mostly bad reviews, which was not a big surprise.
Luckily, I have not seen The Lord of the Rings musical, and I hope I never do. It would ruin the movie for me. I would never be able to look at Frodo the same way after seeing the little hobbit belt it out on stage.
Musicals have got to start getting ideas from somewhere else. Books are a pretty good place to look, but please, Broadway, leave movies alone.