Musicals Blog

From Movie Musical to Broadway Musical

My theme for the next several days will be "From Movie Musical to Broadway Musical." Although the normal sequence is for a Broadway musical to become a movie musical, there have been, especially in more recent years, quite a few Broadway musicals that were based on popular movie musicals. I've selected 6 of these movies-to-plays to discuss in the coming days. [read more ...]

Singin' in the Rain

"Singin' in the Rain" was a hit movie in 1952 and since then it has become a classic. It is considered one of the best films of all time by the American Film Institute and in 1989, "Singin' in the Rain" was added by the Library of Congress to the National Film Registry. The film starred Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. [read more ...]

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Like "Singin' in the Rain," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was a 1950s film success. Released in 1954, the film starred Howard Keel and Jane Powell, with a supporting cast of dancers and gymnasts, including a young Russ Tamblyn. "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1954. In 2004, it was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry. [read more ...]


One of my favorite movie musicals, "Gigi," was turned into a Broadway musical in 1973, but, like "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," it was a flop. But this was not Gigi's first appearance on Broadway. The movie musical was actually based on a non-musical Broadway play from 1951 that starred Audrey Hepburn. All three versions were based on the 1945 novel by Colette. [read more ...]

Mary Poppins

The 1964 film version of "Mary Poppins" was one of Disney's most successful movies. It starred two accomplished Broadway performers in the lead roles - Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick van Dyke as Bert. The London and Broadway musical plays of "Mary Poppins" were equally successful, with the Broadway version still running after more than two years. Both the film and play are based on the popular children's book by P. L. Travers. [read more ...]

Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was the second Disney film to star the gifted Broadway, and later TV, performer, Dick van Dyke. As with the earlier "Mary Poppins," the 1968 film used Broadway performers for most of the major roles, including hiring Sally Ann Howes to play the female lead. [read more ...]

Buddy Holly Story

When I was in London several years ago, I went to see "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story" and I loved it. I grew up in the 1950s and "Buddy" was a great nostalgia trip, taking me back to a time when life seemed simpler. Like the 1978 film, "Buddy" is the story of Buddy Holly's rapid rise to fame and it ends with his tragic death several years later in a plane crash. [read more ...]

Bye Bye Birdie

Keeping with the theme of my last post before the holidays ("Buddy"), this week I'll be focusing on the early rock and roll musicals of Broadway and the movies. The three plays and films I'll be looking at are "Bye Bye Birdie," "Grease" and "Hair." All three were extremely successful Broadway musicals, but from the three films, only "Grease" has retained its initial popularity. Although there have been other rock and roll musicals, these three plays impacted the genre of the musical more than any of their successors. [read more ...]


The musical "Grease" was the next step forward in rock and roll musicals. While "Bye Bye Birdie" showed mostly the wholesome side of teenagers, "Grease" moved into the more rebellious age of American teens. Although it is set in 1959, it is probably more characteristic of the 1960s generation of teens than that of the 1950s. "Grease," like "West Side Story," dealt with working class youth. But "Grease" went further than its predecessors by including themes of sex and teen pregnancy. [read more ...]


"Hair" was the next rock and roll musical to revolutionize musical theater. It represented the open, free, "flower children" of the late 1960s and it created a new kind of musical theater. [read more ...]