Broadway’s Nostalgia Streak: ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ ‘Devil Wears Prada,’ ‘Magic Mike’ and More in the Wings

Forbes Finance 3 weeks ago
Robin Williams In 'Mrs. Doubtfire'
Robin Williams brooms in a scene from the film 'Mrs. Doubtfire', 1993. (Photo by 20th ... [+] Century-Fox/Getty Images)

Sure there was the “Jingle Bell Rock” number at the winter talent show and in the 2004 movie Mean Girls and the“Jump in the Line” scene in 1998’s Beetlejuice flick, but at the time those films came out, a full-fledged song-and-dance musical seemed like a far-fetched idea, especially something that would be Broadway caliber.

Fast forward to today and Mean Girls is a bonafide Broadway hit musical, running since April 8, 2018, having grossed $104,604,844 and earning 12 Tony nominations last year. Beetlejuice, which opened this year on April 25, scored eight noms and is well on its way with a $27,008,381 gross, as of this week.

Sara Bareilles Returns To ″Waitress″ On Broadway
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 16: Sara Bareilles returns to Broadway's 'Waitress' starring with Jason Mraz ... [+] at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on January 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Another non-musical movie turned Broadway musical success is the Sara Bareilles and Jesse Nelson-penned Waitress, based on the 2007 Keri Russell movie, which has been running since April 24, 2016 — and has attracted bold-faced name stars like Jason Mraz, Joey McIntyre, Katharine McPhee, Al Roker and, currently, Jordin Sparks. Having grossed $158,869,190, as of this week, the show will close January 5, 2020.

The streak of turning past films into musical success stories isn’t anything new. The original 1988 Hairspray movie wasn’t a musical, but was set to song for its Broadway premiere in 2002 — and was such a hit that the 2007 movie was made off of the musical.

″Mean Girls″ Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain Call
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Cheech Manohar, Kyle Selig, Kate Rockwell, Grey Henson, Taylor Louderman, ... [+] Erika Henningsen, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Ashley Park, Kerry Butler and cast during the Broadway Opening Night Performance Curtain Call of 'Mean Girls' at the August Wilson Theatre on April 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)

Clearly the formula works, so the trend continues, with The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, based on the 2010 movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, opening on October 16 for a limited holiday engagement for 16 weeks.

Looking ahead, the freeway from Hollywood to the Great White Way is jamming up, most notably with Mrs. Doubtfire, based on the 1993 Robin Williams comedy, set to start previews on March 9, 2020, in advance of an April 5 premiere night. (The show is currently preparing for a test run at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre November 26 before a December 13 opening.)

Here are some of the other non-musical films currently with their eyes set on the Broadway stage:

  • 13 Going on 30: Announced back in 2016, the new musical based on the 2004 Jennifer Garner age-defying comedy will have a book by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner and direction by Andy Fickman. And a live TV production is already being talked about after its debut.
  • 17 Again: Another age-fulfillment movie, 2009’s 17 Again starring Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, has been in development for years, and had a 2016 lab test the show directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, with book by Marco Pennette and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner.
Bette Midler In 'Beaches'
Bette Midler in a scene from the film 'Beaches', 1988. (Photo by Touchstone/Getty Images)
  • Beaches: Continually billed as “Broadway-bound,” the 1998 Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey drama, which featured “Wind Beneath My Wings” has played in Chicago and Virginia and was last reported as heading to London’s West End with the show by David Austin (music), Iris Rainer Dart (lyrics and book) and Thom Thomas (book) and directed by Eric Schaeffer.  
  • The Bodyguard: The show has based on Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s 1992 romantic drama with popular hits like “I Will Always Love You” and “Run to You” has played in London, toured the continent and had major regional productions like at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse with a book written by Alexander Dinelaris, based on Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay.
  • Bull Durham: Ducks on the pond. The 1988 baseball movie is ready for its Broadway run, having debuted in Atlanta in 2014 and been workshopped in New York the year after. Current forecasts have a 2021 premiere targeted for the production with music and lyrics by Susan Werner and book by Ron Shelton.
New York City Candids
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19: (ITALY OUT, NY DAILY NEWS OUT, NY NEWSDAY OUT) Actress Anne Hathaway films a ... [+] scene of the new movie "The Devil Wears Prada" outside the St. Regis Hotel on October 19, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
  • Devil Wears Prada: One of the most anticipated movies that surely wasn’t a musical (what would Miranda Priestly have said?!) is based the 2003 Lauren Weisberger book-turned-2006 movie starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. After all, Elton John wrote the music with lyrics by Shaina Taub, book by Paul Rudnick and direction by Anna D. Shapiro. An industry showcase tested the musical in the summer of 2019 and a Chicago run is set for July 14, 2020, through August 16, 2020, before Broadway plans are solidified.
  • The Flamingo Kid: Based on the 1984 Garry Marshall film about a teen leaving his humble Brooklyn home for a private beach club, the musical premiered in Hartford, Connecticut, in the spring of 2019, with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman, music by Scott Frankel and direction by Tony winner Darko Tresnjak.
  • Magic Mike: The hotly anticipated show stemming from the 2012 Channing Tatum movie was stripped of its creative team in May, before it was supposed to make a Boston premiere in advance of a Broadway run.
Whitney Houston And Courtney B Vance In 'The Preacher's Wife'
Whitney Houston, Courtney B Vance, Jenifer Lewis and two boys stand in front of a Christmas tree in ... [+] a scene from the film 'The Preacher's Wife', 1996. (Photo by Buena Vista/Getty Images)
  • The Preacher’s Wife: Another musical based on a Whitney Houston film — this one based on the 1996 drama — has been in the works by Tituss Burgess (music and lyrics) and Daniel Beaty (book) with Michael Arden directing. With stagings in 2016 and 2017, the show will reportedly head to La Jolla, California, before seeing its Broadway potential next year.
  • Sideways: The 2004 film by Alexander Payne just signed on Tony winner Kathleen Marshall this month to direct and choreograph the Broadway musical, written by Rex Pickett with score by Anthony Leigh Adams. The production is headed for a 2020 regional tryout.
Marilyn Monroe In ″Some Like It Hot″
LOS ANGELES - 1958: Actress Marilyn Monroe on the set of the film "Some Like it Hot" in Los ... [+] Angeles, California. (Photo by Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
  • Some Like It Hot: The 1959 Marilyn Monroe classic has another musical take in the works (there was a previous version called Sugar in 1972, which ran for more than 500 shows) with a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Matthew Lopez — and eyes set on a 2020 premiere.
  • The Visitor: The friendship between a widower and undocumented immigrants in New York City was the focus of the 2007 Thomas McCarthy film being set to music by Tom Kitt with lyrics by Brian Yorkey and book by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Yorkey with an off-Broadway debut scheduled at New York City’s Public Theater on March 24, 2020.

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