By Gabriella Zicarelli
From the flashy costumes to catchy song and dance numbers, everyone loves a great Broadway play, so it only makes sense that many theatre hits eventually make their way from stage to film. Here are ten Broadway plays that made the leap to the big screen.
Proving to be just as good as the play, in 2002, Rob Marshall brilliantly brought Bob Fosse’s Chicago to movie theaters. Set in the 1920s, Roxy Hart (Renee Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Catherine-Zeta Jones) are both facing murder charges after killing the men in their lives. When they both enlist the help of the best attorney in Chicago, Billy Flynn (played by Richard Gere), they find themselves in a battle not only with death row but with each other over fame, that is until the decide to join forces to become on stage partners.
I love how the story focuses on, let’s say, female hutzpah and teaches men to never piss off a b*tch
Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, played by Hugh “I’m so full of charm” Jackman, who, after being released from prison has to care for Fantines’ daughter Cossette. Also starring Russell Crow, Amanda Seyfried, Sasha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter and British cutie Eddie Redmayne, the highly anticipated movies topped box offices and scoring Anne Hathaway an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as Fantine. While it did get a lot of acclaim, some were feeling a bit “Les MiserablUGH” about it (this quote courtesy of comedian Mario Cantone.)
A favourite of mine has got to be The Birdcage! (insert overzealous jazz hands.)
When Armands’ son Val shares the joyous news of his engagement to Barabara Keely (Calista Flockhart), whose father is a conservative senator and VP of “The Moral Commitee,” he needs to hide the fact that he’s gay and owns a drag nightclub along with his very, let’s say passionate partner Albert. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane brought the hilarity in this revival of the 1973 French musical, La Cage aux Folles.
Another adaptation that lived up to its expectations was Hairspray. Set in 1962, this musical is all about Tracy Turnblad, a teenager who gets on to a local, American Bandstand like dance show. Zac Efron, John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken and Nikki Blonsky all starred in this bubbly movie full of big dance numbers and even bigger hair- you’d think it was the 80’s.
Following three women on their journey to make it as a soul trio in Detroit in the 1960’s, Dreamgirls stars Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson and was a huge hit with audiences. Dreamgirls even scored Jennifer Hudson her first ever Oscar win for playing Effie White. Not bad for someone who came in sixth on American Idol eh?
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. Following a couple after their car breaks down and ending up in a house of Transylvanians, we are transported to the strange world of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who happens to be a transvestite on a mission to create his “ultimate man”, Rocky. This movie is all kinds of weird goodness and catchy tunes.
Just for kicks and giggles and because we can, here is The Wanted dancing “The Time Warp.”
Rock of Ages
One movie that didn’t quite live up to its hype is Rock of Ages. With Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine-Zeta Jones and Tom Cruise I really had my hopes up for this one. After moving to Hollywood to chase her dream, Sherrie Christian, played by Julianne Hough, finds herself waiting tables at the iconic Bourbon Room after meeting Drew, a bar-back also trying to make it in the world of Rock and Roll. But even with a few good song numbers, the at times poor writing and weird scenes; like Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin expressing their love for each other in what could be an Andy Samberg digital short, whilst signing “Can’t Fight This Feeling”, generally made it a bit of a flop.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton usually come as a package deal and in 2007 they teamed up for Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Set in Victorian London, because that’s what they do best, Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) is wrongly convicted of a crime and after fifteen years in prison, he takes on the identity of Sweeny Todd, goes back to London, opens a barber shop and sets out for revenge toward the judge that prosecuted him. No one does dark and creepy like this trio and this movie had loads of it.
Getting Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan to play the leads in Mamma Mia did wonders for this film adaptation, giving it great numbers at the box office. With a soundtrack made up of some of ABBA’s greatest hits, this story follows Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) search in finding her father before she walks down the aisle. So add those subtitles, gather your friends and enjoy an ABBA sing-a-long when watching this one.
The Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera is a classic and when it was turned into a movie in 2007 it became a huge hit with fans. With Gerard Butler, as the phantom and Emmy Rossum as Christine, the two of them did a great job bringing this classic to film.
Was anyone else surprised to learn Gerard Butler can sing soprano?