' ' Cinema Romantico: 5 More Musicals Based on Movies Absolutely No One Needs

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

5 More Musicals Based on Movies Absolutely No One Needs

I saw a lot of theatre on my recent jaunt to London, but what I did not see was any musical based on a movie. And, near as I could tell, there were numerous musicals based on movies from which to choose. Every tube stop was adorned with multitudinous posters for “School of Rock” the musical and “Strictly Ballroom” the musical and “Young Frankenstein” the musical and “Aladdin” the musical, and soon England’s capital will have “Bring it On” and “Heathers” musicals on the docket too.

This, frankly, is just as true of my city, Chicago, where a quick scan of upcoming musicals finds such names as “Pretty Woman”, “Dirty Dancing”, “Waitress”, “The Color Purple”, and “Tootsie.” If interest in going to the movies is on the wane then perhaps this spate of movies cum musicals suggests that the movies’ future is, paradoxically, on the stage. That, however, is a theory that probably is not true and that I am not inclined to follow up on anyway. No, what interests this blog, as you no doubt expect, is what other musicals based on movies should (not) exist? Do we have ideas? You better believe we have ideas.

5 More Musicals Based on Movies Absolutely No One Needs

The Avengers. Triple dog duh. Sure, “Spider-Man” flopped on Broadway, but our “Avengers” musical will not. This is because we will forgo complicated staging derring-do for ironic posturing. Robert Downey Jr. has sung and danced before, of course, in “The Singing Detective” as well as an episode of “Ally McBeal.” Except we do not want Downey Jr. to sing and dance. As comically disagreeable Tony Stark, he will spend all of “The Avengers Follies” trying not to sing and dance as his various Avenging cohorts melodically exhort him to join in the fun.

Runaway Jury. My friend Daryl long ago dreamt up the seemingly ludicrous idea of a musical based on “Runaway Jury.” Daryl can pitch ideas like the rain falls and yet, for reasons I struggle to explain, this one always stuck with me more than many of the others. Maybe this is just because picturing John Grisham Comes To Broadway! subway advertisements sounds hilarious. Whatever the case, the idea was just tossed off, not really fleshed out, and so what I propose is this: a “Mamma Mia!” inspired adventure in which our dueling lawyers try to select a jury all while singing, in a nod to the movie’s News Orleans setting, the hits of Fats Domino.

Jurassic World. The resurgent “Jurassic” franchise is ripe for cashing in via the stage. So, for the musical let’s turn Jurassic World into a sort of Sleepaway Camp where paleontologists double as chaperones and feud with their charges against the backdrop of dino mayhem. A T-Rex named Doug plays the King George III of “Hamilton” role as intermittent comic relief.

Cocktail. I’m actually a little insulted that Roger Donaldson’s 1988 box office bonanza, non-masterpiece has yet to receive the musical treatment. Its soundtrack, after all, was a Billboard powerhouse, fueled by The Beach Boys’ (Mike Love version) “Kokomo.” And whether the musical version embodies the trivial all-inclusive Caribbean resort atmosphere of the song’s surface or evokes the tune’s melancholy undercurrent that Molly Lambert latched onto several years ago in a piece at Grantland (rip) to render it euphonic revisionism, I don’t particularly care. Let’s just do this thing and start brainstorming how to get a waterfall on the stage.

Streets of Fire. Like “Cocktail”, Walter Hill’s cult(ish) classic, billed as A Rock ’n Roll Fable, is readymade for the stage. Why two of its songs were written by Jim Steinman whose “Bat Out of Hell” musical is running in London too! So let’s cast Carly Rae Jepsen as Ellen Aim and put on a show.

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