Musicals Blog

Small But Good Movie Musicals

This week I'm featuring a few movie musicals that I'm referring to as small movies because none of them, although very good films (in my opinion), received any Academy Award nominations for Best Film, Best Screenplay or Best Direction. However, the films I've selected are all based on Tony winning plays, including two that won the Pulitzer prize. Some of the films may have had some financial success and/or good reviews from the critics, but they are generally not considered "top" films. They are, however, in my opinion, movie musicals worth viewing more than once. I've seen each of them at least three times and enjoy them more with each viewing. The movies I've selected are "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," "Flower Drum Song," "Evita," and "A Chorus Line."

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

"How to Succeed in Business" was a huge success on Broadway, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1962. It opened on Broadway in 1961 and it ran for 1,417 performances. The play won 7 Tony awards, including the awards for Best Musical, Best Author of a Musical (Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert), Best Composer (Frank Loesser), and Best Direction of a Musical (Abe Burrows). [read more ...]

Flower Drum Song

Although the "Flower Drum Song" did not win any major Tony awards, the play was a success and it was nominated for 6 Tony awards, including the award for Best Musical in 1959. It opened on Broadway on December 1, 1958 and it closed almost 1-1/2 years later, after running for 600 performances. The original Broadway production was directed by Gene Kelly (his first Broadway direction) with choreography by Carol Haney (Tony nominee). [read more ...]

A Chorus Line

"A Chorus Line" began in an Off-Broadway theater in 1975 and, after two successful months, the producer, Joseph Papp, moved it to Broadway. Once on Broadway, the play became a smash hit, running for a record (at the time) of 6,137 performances. It was nominated for 12 Tony awards and it won 9 of the awards, including the awards for Best Musical, Best Musical Book and Best Director (Michael Bennett). In addition, "A Chorus Line" won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Donna McKechnie, who had spent many years as part of the chorus line of earlier shows, including "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," played the lead female role of Cassie in the original production. [read more ...]


Although the film version of "Evita" was a financial success, earning almost $140 million in profit, the film did not reach the Broadway play's critical acclaim and success. "Evita," unlike most of the musicals before it, did not begin or achieve its first success on Broadway. Instead, it started as a concept album in 1976 and then two years later became a success on the West End of London. It took another year to bring "Evita" to Broadway and US success. The Broadway version starred Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin and it ran on Broadway for 1,567 performances, over a period of close to 4 years. "Evita" received 11 Tony nominations and it won 4 Tony awards, including the awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Director. [read more ...]