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Top 10 Musicals We Want Adapted for Live TV

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Ezuma
Script written by Tiffany Ezuma These are the Top 10 musicals we want adapted for live TV! For this list, we’re looking at musicals that could easily be adapted for the small screen. We’re not including musicals already in talks of a TV adaptation, like “Rent” that’s set for a 2019 staging. We’ve included musics like The Book of Mormon, The Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, Kinky Boots, Bandstand, Gypsy, Chicago, Hamilton, Beauty and the Beast, Moulin Rouge!, West Side Story, and Guys and Dolls!
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Top 10 Musicals We Want Adapted for Live TV


If you can’t bring the people to the theatre, bring the theatre to the people. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Musicals We Want Adapted for Live TV.


For this list, we’ll be looking at musicals that could easily be adapted for the small screen. We won’t be including musicals already in talks for a TV adaptation, like “Rent”, which is currently set for a 2019 staging.





#10: “Guys and Dolls” (1950)


“Guys and Dolls” is most likely the show your high school theater ensemble performed, and because of that and the 1955 film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, it’s one of the most well known musicals around. That makes it perfect for a live performance. With the big city backdrop of New York and memorable songs like, “Luck Be a Lady,” it’s a classic song and dance show that wouldn’t be too hard to put on. It also has great roles for talented actors, so we could see both big Hollywood names and Broadway actors wanting to take a crack at bringing this one to the small screen.





#9: “Little Shop of Horrors” (1982)


One of the quirkiest musicals out there, “Little Shop of Horrors” the musical was originally based on the 1960 black comedy film of the same name. It tells the story of a mild mannered florist’s assistant who nurtures a plant that hungers for human flesh. The movie was largely forgotten until the 1982 musical came out, and later the 1986 film adaptation brought that story to an even larger audience. It seems like a good time to revisit this weird and wonderful tale again and expose it to the larger culture, just like Fox did with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” another cult classic. We’d love to “suddenly see more” of this offbeat production.





#8: “West Side Story” (1957)

“West Side Story” is a Broadway and movie classic thanks to the 1961 film, so it’s long past due for it to be adapted for a live TV performance. Based on “Romeo and Juliet,” the story of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle of a conflict between Puerto Rican immigrants and Caucasian Americans is timelier than ever given the current political climate in the US. Politics aside, it’s also a universal story about wanting a better life and finding true love against all odds. Plus, the Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein music is one of the best musical soundtracks around. “There’s a place for” this show, and it’s on live television!





#7: “Moulin Rouge!” (2001)


Unlike many others on the list, a musical version of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film hasn’t made it to Broadway yet, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t clamoring for a live performance on TV. The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, is a lush fever dream of a movie that tells the story a doomed romance between a cabaret girl and poet. With songs like “Come What May” and “Your Song,” the movie boasts some of the best new musical numbers since the Golden Age of Cinema, when movie studios put out new musicals on the regular. While a TV performance wouldn’t be as grand as the film version, all that opulence isn’t necessary when you have a story and music this good.





#6: “Beauty and the Beast” (1994)


With the recent live action film adaptation, “Beauty and the Beast” is having a cultural moment, so why not continue to ride the wave with a live TV performance on ABC, the network Disney owns. Of the Disney musicals, this show is the most feasible to put on, unlike “The Lion King”, which might pose as a technical challenge. And since the Broadway musical of “Cinderella” isn’t the Disney version, “Beauty and the Beast” is the Mouse House’s best option when it comes to TV musical adaptations. The Broadway show includes even more songs that aren’t in either film version, so it would be a great opportunity for people to hear what they’ve been missing.





#5: “The Book of Mormon” (2011)


We’re not sure if “The Book of Mormon” is fit for regular network television, but wouldn’t it be cool if a cable network like HBO got into the live musical game? This show would be a perfect fit because of its risqué humor and controversial subject matter, which deals with Mormonism, missionary work, and the AIDS epidemic. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame, and with music by Robert Lopez, the man behind the “Frozen” soundtrack, there’s a built-in audience who’d love to see this performed for a broader audience. What better way would there be to welcome Mormons into your home?





#4: “The Phantom of the Opera” (1986)


Based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a story that we can’t seem to get enough of. The original Andrew Lloyd Weber version premiered in London in 1986, and years later the show holds the record for being longest running Broadway show, with over 10,000 performances completed as of 2012. Because of its success, it’s obvious that audiences would tune in in large numbers to see it on the small screen. With beautiful, grand songs like “The Music of the Night,” and the title tune, it would be an amazing opportunity to cast a big star to show off their singing chops on live TV.





#3: “Hamilton” (2015)


“Hamilton” is kind of a big deal, so a live TV performance would mean massive ratings for any network. Since the show is relatively new and most people don’t have the chance to make it to Broadway or one of the tour stops, a live TV airing would a great way for the larger public to experience the show. And since it’s American history, we think it would be a civic service to broadcast the show. We’d love to see the original cast get back together for the taping, even though Lin-Manuel Miranda’s been a bit busy lately. Networks, do not throw away your shot at putting on this tour de force.





#2: “Chicago” (1975)


One of the sexier musicals out there, “Chicago” was already made pretty famous by the 2002 film starring Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. But that version is pretty different from the stage version, so it would be cool to give TV audiences a chance to see an adaptation that would be more similar to the Broadway show. The Bob Fosse-choreographed music gave us some theater classics in songs like “All That Jazz,” and as America’s longest-running musical, it would be a shame to continue overlooking this one as much as the characters in the show overlook Amos.





Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



“Gypsy” (1959)





“Kinky Boots” (2013)





“Bandstand” (2017)





#1: “Wicked” (2003)


Before Idina Menzel made “Let It Go” a household hit, she, along with Kristin Chenoweth, was belting out the epic duet of “Defying Gravity”, another song that became a misfit anthem in the broader popular culture. An alternate telling of the mythology behind Elphaba and Glinda the two witches in the “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” is a fun and heart-warming tale that will capture everyone’s heart. With bonafide hits like “Popular” and “For Good,” any live performance of this show would be a guaranteed hit. Bonus points to any network that could get Menzel and Chenoweth to reprise their roles.
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