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22 musicals set for film adaptations

Which ones 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. Oh and, Six might be joing them.

1. The Prom

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. Release date 11 December 2020

2. 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 February 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 18 June 2021

4. 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. Release date December 2021

5. 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. 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 Stephen Daldry recently exiting the show. Release date unconfirmed

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. Release date unconfirmed

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 is "ready" to begin filming. Release date unconfirmed

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 were apparently tipped to join the cast as Trunchbull and Miss Honey respectively, but a new casting call recently went out for the lead role. Release date rumoured for 2021

9. 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. No release dates yet, but we'd wait for forever to hear the sweet score on the silver screen. Oh, and the main cast has been revealed. 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

18. Come From Away

The West End Come From Away cast
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

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

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

20. The Band

Ruth Wilson, Cush Jumbo and Rosamund Pike
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

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

21. Cyrano

Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett
© Left: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) right: https://www.flickr.

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

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 show 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

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