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17 musicals set for film adaptations

Which one are you most looking forward to seeing?

Corey Hawkins and Rose Leslie in In the Heights
(© Macall Polay)

The pandemic may have derailed everyone's plans, but there's still a lot to look forward to on the big screen! To clarify – these are original films rather than stage versions transplanted to the big screen (like our trusty friend Hamilton) Some of these release dates have changed, but we're still hoping they're coming and are very excited.

1. West Side Story

Ezra Menas, Ben Cook, Sean Harrison Jones, Mike Faist, Patrick Higgins, Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, David Alvarez, Julius Anthony Rubio, Ricardo Zayas, Josh Andrés Rivera, Sebastian Serra, and Carlos Sánchez Falú star in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story film adaptation
© Amblin

Drama and film greats Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg are coming together to work on a new version of the classic musical by Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. The cast is a mix of film greats and upcoming stars, and the first look photos were very intriguing. 18 December 2020

2. Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Max Harwood
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Warp films has a crack cast including Richard E Grant, Sarah Lancashire and newcomer Max Harwood transforming the glorious Everybody's Talking About Jamie into a musical film. Original writers Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells are behind the project, which was first inspired from a BBC TV documentary. We can't wait to see Jamie's story being heard by more and more people. Release date: 22 January 2021.

3. In the Heights

With Lin-Manuel Miranda's star shining brighter than ever following the success of his musical Hamilton, film producers renewed their interest in taking Usnavi and co to the big screen. A cast of fantastic musical theatre, music and TV performers have shot the piece, and we'll be covering it all in big amounts of detail following a set visit last year. Its release may have been pushed back, but it will come!Release date: June 18, 2021

4. Wicked

Laura Pick and Helen Woolf in Wicked
© Wicked, photo by Matt Crockett

This one has been doing the rounds for a while now, some would even say it's a "Popular" choice. Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot fame is signed up to direct, but no information on casting has been announced so far. Composer Stephen Schwartz has said that he is penning new songs for the film, and reports are that Gregory Maguire's story of Elphaba and Glinda will hit the screens in December 2021, according to distributor Universal. Release date expected: 22 December 2021.

5. The Prom

James Corden
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

It hasn't run in the UK just yet, but a film version of The Prom may arrive first – Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana DeBose, Keegan-Michael Key, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and Meryl Streep have all filmed the Netflix movie version of the hit Broadway musical. It got six Tony Award nominations when it opened on the Great White Way, with Glee's Ryan Murphy attached to take it onto the big screen in 2020. Murphy has said he was days away from finishing when production was shut down. Release date expected to be 2020 holiday season

6. Tick, Tick...Boom!

Lin-Manuel Miranda
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Jonathan Larson (of RENT fame) was responsible for this 2001 musical, about a young theatre composer who works as waiter. Lin-Manuel Miranda (because he isn't busy enough already...) has signed on to direct a film version for streaming service Netflix, while Andrew Garfield is leading the cast. Filming was interrupted by the pandemic, so we'll wait and see when it's released. Rumoured to be 2020.

7. Sunset Boulevard

Glenn Close at the curtain call for Sunset Boulevard in London
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Glenn Close has made no secret of the fact she is gunning for a film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, and teased that the film may be shooting very very soon. Release date rumoured for 2021

8. Matilda

Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

A very clandestine casting notice and some ambiguous emails from the production gave us the tip-off about this one – with Netflix orbiting the project, Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's musical looks set to be heading for the big screen. The musical's director Matthew Warchus is attached, so we're assuming it'll also feature all of the musical's tunes rather than being a completely new beast. Ralph Fiennes and Jodie Comer are apparently tipped to join the cast as Trunchbull and Miss Honey respectively. Release date rumoured for 2021

9. Dear Evan Hansen

It won a proverbial mass of Tony Awards and must be planning to do the same at next year's Oliviers, so it was inevitable that Pasek and Paul's tearjerker musical was going to be headed for the big screen. No casting or release dates yet, but we'd wait for forever to hear the sweet score on the silver screen. No release date announced at present.

10. Beautiful

Cassidy Janson (Carole King)
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The Carole King musical finished in the West End a while back (it is about to head out on tour again) and will close on Broadway in October so talk of a film adaptation is no big surprise. Last we heard (a while back!) megastar Tom Hanks and Sony Pictures are set to produce the film, which will have the rights to King's songs as well as those of Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. No release date announced at present.

11. Guys and Dolls

The cast of Guys and Dolls
© Paul Coltas

The last we heard (in March 2019), TriStar Pictures has bought the rights not only to Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Jo Swerling's Tony Award-winning musical, but also the 1955 film version and the original Damon Runyon short stories on which the musical is based. That sounds like they have big plans. No release date announced at present.

12. Little Shop of Horrors

Chris Evans
© United States House of Representatives - Office of Don Young / Public domain

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's 1986 film is such a mainstay of musical theatre history that we can hear you all screaming "do we really need another one?!" Well yes, yes we do, according to Menken himself anyway. Produced by Marc Platt (Wicked) and directed by Greg Berlanti, the movie musical will feature a script by Matthew Robinson and is described as "a fresh version" of the 30 year-old film. Casting wise it is all very exciting – Taron Egerton, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans are apparently attached to the project. No release date announced at present.

13. Follies

Emily Langham in Follies
© Johan Persson

It was last on the stage in May this year and now Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's award-winning musical Follies will be adapted into a film. Dominic Cooke – who directed the National Theatre revival of the show – is attached to the project, but there's no news of a cast or release date just yet (Cooke also has to tackle Hello, Dolly! first!). Set in a crumbling theatre where a reunited group of old Follies girls reflect on their lives and their performing heydays, the musical features numbers including "Losing My Mind" and "I'm Still Here". No release date announced at present.

14. Mean Girls

The original cast of Mean Girls on Broadway
© Joan Marcus

Honestly we didn't expect to have this one on here but eagerly anticipated nonetheless – a brand new film version of a stage musical based on an original film (it's somewhat satisfying to see it come full-circle) was recently announced by Tina Fey. No release date announced at present.

15. Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof 30th anniversary cover

Hamilton's own Thomas Kail will lead a brand new version of the iconic stage show, which he promised will be a departure from the original. Count us intrigued! No release date announced at present.

16. Merrily We Roll Along

Ben Platt
© David Gordon

A team of dreams – Ben Platt, Beanie Feldstein, Blake Jenner – are said to be taking on Sondheim's iconic musical, directed by Richard Linklater. The twist is, Linklater is directing it in real-time – ie over the course of 20 years. This might need a bit of patience – especially as Ben Platt recently revealed they're going to have to restart shooting. No release date announced at present, but it'll be sometime in the 2040s

17. Once On This Island

Once on this Island, during its hit revival
© Joan Marcus

Disney is reportedly working on a brand spanking new version of the iconic musical, about a group of gods and island dwellers in the Caribbean. Get all the details No release date announced at present.