23 musicals set for film adaptations
Which ones are you most looking forward to seeing?
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. Oh and, Six might be joining them.
1. 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! And it's just released a fantastic new pair of trailers UK release date June 2021
2. Dear Evan Hansen
It won a proverbial mass of Tony Awards and a trio at this year's Oliviers, so it was inevitable that Pasek and Paul's tearjerker musical was going to be headed for the big screen. A release date has been unveiled, as has a whole variety of cast members. Released 24 September 2021.
3. West Side Story
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. The cast is a mix of film greats and upcoming stars, and the first look photos were very intriguing. Release date December 2021
4. Everybody's Talking About Jamie
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 tbc – moved by Disney but expected later in 2021
5. Tick, Tick...Boom!
Jonathan Larson (of RENT fame) was responsible for this 2001 musical, about a young theatre composer who works as a waiter. Lin-Manuel Miranda (because he isn't busy enough already...) has directed a film version for Netflix, while Andrew Garfield is leading the cast. Filming was interrupted by the pandemic, but has now wrapped – and a small clip was teased. Release date unconfirmed, to be in 2021
A lot of concrete information came out very recently – including casting (Lashana Lynch and Emma Thompson!) for the musical version of Roald Dahl's classic. Set to start shooting in the spring. Release date tbc
This one has been doing the rounds for a while now, and some would even say it's a "Popular" choice. No information on casting has been announced so far. Composer Stephen Schwartz has said that he is penning new songs for the film, but it seems to have entered a bit of development languor, with director Jon M Chu (In the Heights) recently joining the show. Release date unconfirmed
8. A Chorus Line
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
9. Sunset Boulevard
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 is "ready" to begin filming. Release date unconfirmed
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 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
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
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 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
14. Mean Girls
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 recently announced by Tina Fey. No release date announced at present
15. Fiddler on the Roof
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
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
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
18. Come From Away
This one had been on the radar for a while, but all of a sudden the musical's creators announced they'd turned in a draft script, and plan to cast the show from "non-Hollywood" types. We wait for more details! No release date announced at present
19. Fun Home
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
20. The Band
And in at number 20 – how could we (n)ever forget! The Band is set to be transformed into a new musical film with a starry cast including Cush Jumbo and Rosamund Pike. Currently 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). No release date announced at present
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage will once more take on the title role in this show, which ran off-Broadway to favourable reviews. Watch this space for more news! No release date announced at present
22. The Color Purple
The iconic musical is set for a big-screen release, with Blitz Bazawule in the director's chair. 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. No release date announced at present
The hit Broadway musical is headed for the big screen, with director Casey Nicholaw in the director's chair. Huzzah! Release date tbc.
24. The King and I
A remake is reportedly in the works, with a "contemporary and diverse perspective" on the Rodgers and Hammerstein material expected. Release date tbc.