While sometimes Broadway shows head for the big screen, other times films head for the stage. In recent years, this has been happening more than ever. Cult-followed classics, beloved animations, teen comedies, and horror flicks are all getting new life breathed into them by becoming stage productions. While some of these shows have runs that are cut short, others are still being performed today.
We hope you like movies and musicals because we're here to check out 10 Broadway shows that take all their inspiration from some of the world's favorite films.
10 Mean Girls
Tina Fey turned her beloved 2004 teen comedy into a pop musical in 2017. It opened on Broadway less than a year later at the August Wilson Theatre to glowing reviews and multiple Tony nominations.
The musical follows the same plot as the film, with the formerly homeschooled Cady Heron embarking on a wild exploration of North Shore High School dominated by the ruthless Regina George.
While the musical contains many of the jokes of the original film, it has been modernized to include social media references that cater to a younger crowd. It is not yet known how long the show will run.
That’s right — the beloved 2003 holiday comedy starring Will Ferrell as the naive Buddy the Elf got a shot at Broadway twice. Elf first ran on stage during the 2010-11 holiday season and came back for a revival during the 2012-13 season. It returned to New York once more in December 2017 as a running holiday show at Madison Square Garden.
The Broadway production featured 18 musical numbers and was praised for being as energetic and funny as the original film, despite certain scenes being replaced. The department store Gimbels is also noticeably changed to Macy’s.
Long before Christian Bale was Batman, he was Jack Kelly is Disney’s comedy-drama Newsies. Though the ratings were not high at the time of its release, the newsboy musical film gained a considerable following and headed to the stage.
Starring Jeremy Jordan, the Broadway production opened at the Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement in 2012. Its closing date was removed, and the musical lasted all the way to August of 2014. A filmed production featuring the original cast was released in September 2017, so you can relive the musical magic over and over again.
Comedy-drama film Waitress, starring Keri Russel, follows a young woman’s small-town dreams, abusive marriage, and secret romance, all of which loom under the shadow of her unwanted pregnancy.
While the feel-good indie film received modest box office success, it got its second chance at fame in the form of a Broadway show.
The music and lyrics, based on the original film’s script, were penned by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. The production received a handful of Tony awards and a whole lot of love.
Once — a 2007 romantic comedy following two struggling musicians in Ireland — scored over 23 million at the box office despite having a budget of $150,000 thousand. The film became known for featuring the hit “Falling Slowly,” which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Once was transformed into a musical in 2011 and was soon transferred to Broadway in 2012, where it would run through January 2015. The original cast starred Cristin Milloti, who is best known for her portrayal as The Mother in How I Met Your Mother.
5 Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a classic ‘50s musical film, praised for its unusual choreography and captivating dance numbers. In the late ‘70s, it was turned into a stage musical — and in 1982, it headed to Broadway.
Although it made it all the way to New York, the musical flopped and closed after only five performances. The cast blamed New York Times critic Frank Rich for the closure, citing his poor review.
Despite this, the musical was performed several other times overseas and was eventually revised and returned to the United States in 2007.
4 Beauty And The Beast
Disney’s animated 1991 classic was transformed into a Broadway musical a few years after its release. The production featured beautiful sets, elaborate costumes, and enchanting songs that would be joining the originals.
The fairytale ended up running for thirteen years from 1994 to 2007, becoming the tenth longest-running production in Broadway history.
Disney Theatrical Group revealed in April 2019 that an updated version of Beauty and the Beast is set to return to Broadway, though the theater and dates are yet to be announced.
Beetlejuice is the creepy 1988 kids horror-comedy that starred Michael Keaton and Stranger Things’ favorite mom, Winona Ryder. The Tim Burton film follows a couple who comes to grip with their deaths after a new family arrives in their home. In 2019, this story was taken to a stage in the Big Apple.
The show didn’t win any of the eight Tony Awards it was nominated for, but it was still praised for its cheeky humor and over-the-top set design.
There is no closing date in sight, so you’ll have a while to catch this edgy-humorous hit on Broadway.
2 Groundhog Day
The 1993 Groundhog Day film follows Bill Murray’s Phil Connor on an endless loop that has him reliving the same day of his life over and over again. It was later adapted for the stage and opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway in April 2017. Though the production was met with favorable reviews — with Murray himself attending two night in a row — the production closed in September 2017 after 176 performances and 32 previews.
While the show was set to go on an 18-month national tour in 2018, it too was canceled, making the musical’s run brief.
Anastasia is the 1997 animated film that tells of the 8-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia's failure to escape the Catherine Palace in Russia, which results in her falling and forgetting who she is. The original fantasy musical starred Meg Ryan, and despite its historical inaccuracies, it was well-received by audiences. It transformed into a stage show 20 years later.
While the 2017 Broadway production retained the original songs from the film, it also received several new ones, a beautiful set, and greater character depth. After 808 performances and 34 previews, the show closed in March 2019. Thankfully, there are plenty of other films-turned-stage-shows on Broadway that are just as worth checking out.