WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

17 musicals set for film adaptations

Which ones are you most looking forward to seeing?

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande
© Dan Wooller, Cosmopolitan UK

While nothing beats the magic of live performance, 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).

1. Matilda

Emma Thompson and Lashana Lynch
© Left: Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage, right: MTV International

A lot of concrete information came out very recently – including casting (Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Sindhu Vee and Emma Thompson!) for the musical version of Roald Dahl's classic. Release date December 2022

2. and 3. Wicked [Parts 1 and 2]

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande
© Dan Wooller, Cosmopolitan UK

This one has been doing the rounds for a while now, and some would even say it's a "Popular" choice. Composer Stephen Schwartz has said that he is penning new songs for the film, and that it will begin production later this year with plans to film across 2022 and into 2023 – before being released in two parts. Director Jon M Chu (In the Heights) spearheads the project, which has also revealed top casting! Release date unconfirmed

4. A Chorus Line

The Broadway revival marquee for A Chorus Line
© Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh off adapting The Prom for Netflix, Ryan Murphy will now be tackling this long-running musical classic. The twist? Murphy will be spreading the piece over multiple episodes, and feature a meta-narrative about how the show itself came to exist. Release date unconfirmed

5. 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), 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. Follies

Emily Langham in Follies
© Johan Persson

Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's award-winning musical Follies is being adapted into a film. Dominic Cooke – who directed the acclaimed 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

9. 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 anticipate it 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 announced by Tina Fey. No release date announced at present

10. 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

11. Merrily We Roll Along

Ben Platt
© David Gordon

A team of dreams including Ben Platt, Beanie Feldstein. – 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

12. 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

13. Fun Home

Jake Gyllenhaal
© David Gordon

At the start of the year reports came out that Jake Gyllenhaal was set to star in a Fun Home film. The iconic show is a powerful one and it'd be incredible to see it on screen. No release date announced at present

14. The Band

How could we (n)ever forget! The Band is set to be transformed into a new musical film called Greatest Days. the film will be directed by Coky Giedroyc (How to Build a Girl) with a screenplay penned by Tim Firth and choreography by the award-winning Drew McOnie (Jesus Christ Superstar). Casting was recently revealed. No release date announced at present

15. The Color Purple

Blitz Bazawule and The Color Purple
© Left: Willhwhitney / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0), right: Photo: Andreas Praefcke / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/

The iconic musical is set for a big-screen release, with Blitz Bazawule in the director's chair and a very starry cast. The musical is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, and tells the story of heroine Celie over 40 years as she finds her place in the world. It has a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. December 20, 2023

16. Spamalot

Eric Idle at the opening night of Spamalot
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The hit Broadway musical is headed for the big screen, with director Casey Nicholaw in the director's chair. Huzzah! Release date tbc.

17. The King and I

A remake is reportedly in the works, with a "contemporary and diverse perspective" on the Rodgers and Hammerstein material expected. In fact – a whole range of R&H musicals are headed the same way. Release date tbc.

Sign up for WhatsOnStage's daily newsletter for more