Guess which genre of source material hasn’t been adapted for the Broadway stage.
Bunches of books have been made into Broadway shows, from Phantom, to Tale of Two Cities, to Ragtime.
And, as is more and more the case, lots of movies have made the leap as well, from Billy Elliot, to Big, to Kinky Boots.
We’ve even had albums morph into musicals, like Tommy, and as well as the catalogs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys), ABBA (Mamma Mia), and many more.
Lastly, we’ve also had a ton of TV shows make it to the stage, like . . . er . . . uh . . . you know like . . . hmmmmm.
Books, movies, music, even a poem (Cats) . . . but how many TV shows have become Broadway musicals?
Seriously. How many?
Can you find any?
Ok, there’s the recent Addams Family . . . but the creators went out of their way (and rightly so) to state that they were using the original Charles Addams cartoons as their source material. The brand of the TV show was just a bonus.
I know about the Happy Days musical that’s played the regionals and a few tour stops. And there’s a Lucy that’s been making the rounds. Jerry Springer The Opera went up in London. But like all the others, it never made it here to Broadway. (Most recently, The Honeymooners was all set to make its pre-Broadway debut this fall at The Old Globe, but backed out at the last second).
So what is it? Why don’t TV shows make strong source materials for Broadway musicals?
Is it because their story is told over seasons instead of a more finite arc? Or conversely, is it because their plots are generally resolved in a 30 or 60 minute quick, simply structured wrap up? Is it because they are generally conceived as “lighter” fare and musicals require a heavier theme? Or frankly, is it just because we haven’t gotten around to them yet and the next decade will bring an onslaught?
Whatever the answer, the Dragnet-style “just the facts” are that TV shows don’t make successful Broadway musicals. In fact, they just don’t make Broadway musicals period. That seems to be the rule.
Of course, that’s the rule until someone breaks it. And I look forward to writing that blog.
You have an idea as to why there hasn’t been more Broadway musicals based on TV shows? Or do you have an idea for one?
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