It’s not every day our favorite Broadway shows get made into films. These star-studded movies can either go very well (such as “Les Misérables” or “Hairspray”) or terribly wrong (did anyone see “Jersey Boys?”).
What comes with these new adaptations are newer takes on some of our favorite shows, sometimes with new songs or new effects that couldn’t have been done onstage. If done correctly, like “Rent” or “Chicago,” these films can capture the musical just right and be around for us to watch for years to come.
UPDATE: We’ve added new additions recently announced to this list
Here are 14 musicals that are currently in production and will eventually head to the big screen:
1. ‘In the Heights’
During the crazy success of “Hamilton” in 2016, it was announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2007 hit “In the Heights” will officially be made into a film. The road to the silver screen has been a little shaky for this adaptation. This four-time Tony Award-winning musical is sure to be an amazing film, but a cast has yet to be announced.
Though Miranda has enough on his plate, currently filming “Mary Poppins Returns” and recently being cast in the “DuckTales” reboot, some can’t help but hope he reprises his role as Usnavi in the film adaptation.
Miranda told the Huffington Post, “I don’t want to play the role if it feels like it’s not age-appropriate with the rest of the cast. But Chris Jackson (who originated the role of Benny in the show) and I can be in the background playing dominoes during ‘When You’re Home’ and that would be f***king great.”
With producers such as Jay Z already signed on to the project, this adaptation is going to warrant more than a bottle of cold champagne.
2. ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’
This project is pretty new compared to the others, but it has been reported that this Tony Award-winning musical will be moving to the big screen. This musical, which first opened on Broadway in 2014, starred Jessie Mueller and won her her first Tony Award for her performance as Carole King.
Variety reports the film is currently set to be produced by Sony Pictures, with Tom Hanks already signed on as one of the producers. With classic songs that appeal to all ages, this biopic musical adaptation could really be a big hit.
Who do you think should play the iconic songwriter on the big screen?
This Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is currently in the works to come to the big screen. With a revival now on Broadway, there is still a lot of admiration for this show that many people love to hate.
According to Vanity Fair, Tom Hooper, director of the “Les Misérables” adaptation, is already signed on to direct this feline-filled film. And though not much else is known at this point, we can’t help but wonder how it will go.
It’s one thing for a film to try to stay true to the story of a musical, not let down during big ensemble numbers and deliver on casting, but this is “Cats.” Who is going to sign on to play Rum Tum Tugger or Grizabella? These days, we are fortunate enough to see big Broadway stars in TV musicals and big film adaptations, but something tells us names such as Darren Criss and Meryl Streep are not going to claw at the opportunity to be in this film.
Despite the skepticism facing this project, it shouldn’t be counted out just yet. Webber’s other film adaptations were fairly good, and just think of the amazing effects this adaptation can bring to Mr. Mistoffelees’ tricks! Worst-case scenario, we can always revert back to the 1998 VHS version of the show.
4. ‘American Idiot’
This punk rock musical first graced the stage in 2010, reinventing Green Day’s 2004 concept album of the same name. The film is currently being produced by HBO and is set to be directed by Michael Mayer, the director of the Broadway musical.
As of right now, there is no set date or cast for this film, but Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is already set to reprise his role as St. Jimmy. When speaking to NME, he said, “I think it’s going to be a lot different from the musical. It’s kind of more surreal, but I think there’s going to be parts of it that might offend people — which is good. I think it’s a great time to offend people. I think there’s just going to be a lot of imagery that we couldn’t pull off in the musical in the stage version. You know, I don’t want to give away too much, but it will be shocking in a way which makes you think.”
5. ‘Little Shop of Horrors’
This classic musical about a plant that comes from outer space and eats people is in talks for a musical movie remake. Though this show has not been on Broadway in recent years, the success of its two-night concert at the New York City Center in 2015, led by Jake Gyllenhaal, proves this show still has a very strong fanbase.
Entertainment Weekly reports Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,” “Supergirl”) has signed on to direct the remake. With Matthew Robinson set to do the screenplay and Marc Platt Productions signed on to produce, this remake could come sooner than we think.
It seems like the only thing left to do is decide on the cast. Could you imagine Tituss Burgess as Audrey II, or Neil Patrick Harris as Seymour? Of course, this is extremely wishful thinking, but the real question is, can Steve Martin reprise his frightening “Dentist!” for the new film?
6. ‘Finding Neverland’
This is a weird one to get a musical film adaptation. Unlike the other musicals on this list, “Finding Neverland” was based on a film of the same name starring Johnny Depp that told the story of how J.M. Barrie brought Peter Pan to life.
Though snubbed at the Tony Awards in 2015, this Gary Barlow-scored musical has truly brought a new, magical dimension to an already great story. The show is currently on a national tour and has a pretty solid fanbase, but what would a film adaptation of a musical adaptation based on a film look like for this show?
No cast or director has been assigned to the project. Here’s hoping this magical musical actually sails to the big screen.
This loud musical has been in talks to become a film for the past few years. “Matilda,” based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, closed on Broadway on Jan. 1, 2017. Though there were talks that the movie would potentially start filming in 2016, the production has yet to get underway.
To be fair, Tim Minchin has had his hands full lately. His new hit, “Groundhog Day” has been making waves on Broadway after transferring from London, where it took home the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The hype is not dying down for this new musical anytime soon, as it was nominated for multiple Tony Awards this year.
However, there is still hope for the film adaptation of “Matilda.” With Matthew Warchus signed on as the director (“Matilda,” “Groundhog Day”), the film should be able to get underway soon. Minchin told The Stage, “We didn’t want to rush it, as we wanted it to be known as a theatre piece. We didn’t want people going to the theatre saying, ‘Oh, it’s the musical of that movie.’ You want people seeing the film, saying, ‘It’s the movie of that musical.’”
Minchin also said he hopes the film could wrap up by 2018. With a cast not yet announced, it’s hard to tell whether that will happen, but let’s hope production starts moving again soon. It would be a great way to see this naughty group of revolting children bring this great musical to life onscreen.
After many years of rumors and speculation, this popular musical is coming to the big screen. This adaptation of Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s musical is probably one of the most anticipated stage-to-film adaptations in production. With work already underway on the screenplay, Schwartz has given fans more to look forward to with this new movie.
When speaking to Playbill just a few weeks ago, he said we can expect at least two new songs in the adaptation. Schwartz was also very adamant that his adaptation will not be exact.
“There are things that work onstage but won’t work on film,” he said. “In order to do something that will work on its own merits, you have to do something different. The only concern is people who would be coming expecting to see a filmed version of the play. They’re not going to see that.”
However, fans already seem to have their dream casting for this particular adaptation. With ideas of Lea Michele as Elphaba, Aaron Tveit as Fiyero and Beth Behrs as Glinda, it’s hard not to get ahead of ourselves. But what this adaptation has that most do not is an official premiere date: Dec. 20, 2019.
NBC recently announced it would stage the popular (and controversial) 1960s musical. “Hair” will join a string of live-action musicals put on by NBC, including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which aired on the network on Easter this year. There have been no announcements on casting yet, but theatre lovers are already speculating.
Release Date: May 19, 2019
With Guy Ritchie at the helm, Disney’s remake of the beloved animated classic will feature old favorites as well as new songs penned by the film’s original composer, Alan Menken, alongside Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the team behind “Dear Evan Hansen.” This live-action adaptation features Hollywood heavy-hitter Will Smith as the Genie, Canadian actor Mena Massoud as Aladdin, and British actress Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine.
Release Date: May 24, 2019
11. ‘Lion King’
The stars came out for this one, including the one which eclipses them all: Queen Beyonce, who will voice Nala. Donald Glover will play opposite as Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa. The remainder of the cast includes other Hollywood favorites such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, and Keegan-Michael Key, to name a few. The film’s director, Jon Favreau, directed Disney’s recent remake of “The Jungle Book,” which could be an indication of the style of the upcoming remake.
Release Date: July 19, 2019
12. ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’
Miranda is a busy guy. With “In the Heights” already in the works, he announced his intention to direct an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, Tick…Boom!” with the script written by “Dear Evan Hansen” writer Steven Levenson. In the past, Miranda has praised Larson’s work as inspirational in his personal process, and additionally played the character of Jon in a revival of the show back in 2014.
Release Date: TBA
13. ‘West Side Story’
The rumors of this remake from Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner became a reality earlier this year when a casting call went out for actors/singer/dancers for the leading roles of Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo. No announcements have been made regarding actors chosen for the film or a release date, but the Spielberg/Kushner duo has audiences waiting with bated breath.
Release Date: TBA
14. ‘Be More Chill’
Producers of this social media sensation recently announced plans for a film adaptation. This is somewhat surprising since the show has not even opened on Broadway yet. However, Joe Iconis’s runaway hit has been getting Broadway-Hit like attention since its recent sold-out run Off-Broadway. Many are predicting this as next big winner on the great white way. Needless to say, the movie is still far from being here and no timetable has yet been given.
Release Date: TBA
Kate Johnston also contributed to this article
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