More ’90s movies that should probably become musicals
In case you’re not up on the revivals of your favorite 1990s movies, The First Wives Club is getting the musical treatment. The 1996 classic, originally starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton will now feature a trio made up of Tony winner Faith Prince (who was once Ursula in The Little Mermaid), Christine Sherrill and Carmen Cusack. I didn’t realize that The First Wives Club needed a musical rendition, but now I’m all about this. It’s currently set for a run in Chicago starting in February 2015, and hopefully if all goes well I can get myself some mezzanine seats for when it relocates to New York City. I not so secretly really love musicals, and I love them even more when they’re based off of movies I’m already obsessed with.
The First Wives Club isn’t the first movie to ever be turned into a musical, and it certainly won’t be the last. Looking back on the 1990s, there are a lot of movies that deserve a show-stopping second act on Broadway. Here are my choices for awesome ’90s movies I need to become musicals ASAP.
My Best Friend’s Wedding, 1997
My Best Friend’s Wedding already has a showstopping musical number — when they all sing “Say A Little Prayer” in the seafood restaurant and there are waiters in the back with giant lobster claws, and it’s the best part of the movie. My Best Friend’s Wedding totally deserves to be made into a feel-good musical with “Say a Little Prayer for Me” as the big number. Other songs from the Burt Bacharach-heavy soundtrack that would serve up the movie as a kind of 1960’s revue: “Wishin’ and Hopin’” “You Don’t Know Me” and “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.” It’d be the perfect throwback musical. And if Neil Patrick Harris doesn’t play George I will be so disappointed.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, 1993
Now, this might just be my opinion, but Broadway never really seems kid-friendly, you know? It’s hard to get a little six year old to sit through something that could run 2+ hours with confusing plots and a very loud orchestra. But, maybe mix in some dog and cat puppets, complete with kid-friendly sing-along music, maybe with the hottest musical acts of today, and everyone will want to see Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey — The Musical. I’ve already cast the role of Sassy the Cat in my mind, and she’ll be played by Demi Lovato.
The Mighty Ducks, 1992
There’s a musical out there called Starlight Express, and I won’t fault you for not having seen it because I’m pretty sure it’s about God and trains — maybe? Honestly, the only thing you need to know about it is that the show is done entirely on roller skates. Roller skates can easily translate to ice skates, and suddenly it’s a snap to create the Flying V onstage. The Mighty Ducks is such a childhood classic it’d be foolish not to adapt it for high schools to preform as their spring musical — and just like Starlight Express it will also be rock musical. Everyone’s just going to need to learn how to skate.
Groundhog Day, 1992
In all seriousness, why isn’t there any sort of Bill Murray musical yet? Adapt Groundhog Day, which is one of the most universally known movies for its plot — because Phil keeps on waking up on the same day again and again. This would be a comedy musical—something like Avenue Q — designed specifically for that “adult audience.” Also, Norbert Leo Butz should play Phil.
Jurassic Park, 1993
Once upon a time in college, I had two friends who were determined to bring Jurassic Park to the stage. They even went so far as to start composing lyrics for the John Williams instrumental score. If you want, I can sing you a few bars of their first act finale, “Life Finds A Way,” and it’s impossible for me hear the score without thinking it. So with that being said, I would stand in that ridiculously long, discounted ticket line to see Jurassic Park: The Musical. The musical would kind of be like The Lion King, but with giant dinosaur puppets. Also, it would be kinda like Miss Saigon, but only because there would be a helicopter onstage at some point during the second act (you know, to leave the island).
The Truman Show, 1998
Lots of musicals are about finding ones way in life, which leads to perfect opportunities for all empowering solos sung completely to the audience. The Truman Show would be about a boy and his dream to change his life, and explore the great unknown. There will be a little Truman, and a big Truman of course. Then, rig up some cool special effects with television monitors to convey how Christof watches over everything and I’ll give it three Tonys. Actually, can NPH play Truman, too? He’s not busy, right?
Now that I’ve brought up Pleasantville, I hope you’re thinking, “Yeah, that’s actually a pretty great movie.” While I love recent Broadway shows, like Wicked and Big Fish, there’s something special about musicals like Kiss Me Kate, and My Fair Lady and Hello, Dolly! I feel like musicals aren’t made in that classic romantically optimistic song-and-dance way. Pleasantville would be the opportunity to channel those musicals of yesteryear with an awesome ’50s doo-wop score. Also, wouldn’t it be awesome to slowly watch the colors of the musical change from black and white to color?
Disney is very good at adapting their animated classics for the Great White Way. They’ve already done The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and I keep hearing that Finding Nemo might be next (really!). While all of these musicals are fine and dandy, what’s one of the most underrated Disney movies of the past few decades with a killer soundtrack and a strong female heroine? The answer to this question is Mulan. The movie would be super easy to adapt to the stage, and — taking into account Chinese acrobats — the musical could totally have the vibe of Cirque du Soleil Come on, you want to see a giant twirling Mushu, too.
Wait, hold the phone. IT EXISTS. Or it did. This staged Mulan adaptation, which ran from June through September, in New York City, featured China’s first all-female percussion group and, obviously, it looked AMAZING. Let’s bring it back!
And if Broadway producers could just get working on my other requests, we’ll be all set. Great. Thanks.
(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)