How to turn a movie into a musical.

Behind the scenes.
May 23 2006 2:43 PM

From Screen to Stage

How to turn a movie into a musical.

(Continued from Page 1)

A lot of the righteous condemnation aimed at movie-musicals conceals an unfortunate snobbery. Why does no one make a fuss when an adaptation of a book like Jane Eyre or Little Women opens? A novel is, if anything, much less suited to the demands of the stage. A movie, after all, is already a tale told through dialogue and action that lasts about two hours. A novel requires much more truncating and condensing. Adapting movies makes more sense. The hatred of movie-musicals is too often based on an ill-considered sense of superiority to the source material. A Broadway musical, the thinking goes, should be better than an Adam Sandler vehicle. With a well-rendered adaptation, it can be. In the end, it's not the source of the adaptation that's important, it's the execution. The Wedding Singer had a chance to be a better musical than the movie it was based on and failed. Legally Blonde doesn't have to.

Correction, May 25, 2006: This story originally and incorrectly misspelled Marc Shaiman's name. Return to the corrected sentence.

Mac Rogers is a Brooklyn-based playwright, producer and copywriter whose plays have been nominated for seven New York Innovative Theater Awards.