Screen to stage

September 30, 2010, 10:45 PM GMT+0

TV shows and Hollywood films would be big business in the West End, many of our UK panellists have suggested.

The highly successful Hairspray, The Lion King and Legally Blonde are just some of the movie-inspired shows packing theatres across London, and as theatreland announces its intention to turn 1990 fantasy drama Ghost, starring Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze, into a musical, we asked around 500 panellists if there were any other favourite films or shows they’d like to see transformed into music and dance.

Small screen show

It seems musical adaptation of television programmes, rather than films, might be the way forward for producers wanting to discover the next big thing.

    • Many respondents would love to see modern TV shows such as Big Brother, X Factor, Friends and Eastenders made into musicals
    • While one said that the BBC hair salon drama Cutting It would work well because of its ‘great characters’, while another suggested US thriller series Lost because ‘it would be interesting to see how they would do it’.
    • Comedies were also particularly popular, including Family Guy, Shameless and the Vicar of Dibley.
    • One person suggested that 1980s TV drama Boys from the Black Stuff, following a group of Liverpudlian tarmac layers, could be a modern equivalent of Les Misérables.
    • Some respondents would like to see old favourites such as Last of the Summer Wine and Dad’s Army arranged for the stage. ‘Dad’s Army would be as funny as [existing Monty Python musical] Spamalot’, enthused one respondent.

Feel-good factors

Many did suggest films though, with Bridget Jones’ Diary, which stars Renée Zellweger, proving a particularly popular option. ‘It’s funny and sad and has lots of opportunities to put in some great music and songs,’ read one creative comment.

      • Some people thought that romantic films would make the best musicals, suggesting Notting Hill, Amelie and Pretty Woman. One fan was especially supportive, as ‘every woman knows the songs in Pretty Woman, and it has a great feel-good factor’.
      • Another suggested that it would be interesting to have a ‘sports-based musical’ in the West End, putting forward the boxing film Rocky, because ‘the music would be great’.
      • One respondent even said they would like King Kong to be turned into a musical simply because they ‘would love to see a singing gorilla!’

It appears that options are not just limited to television and film adaptations either. One imaginative respondent suggested turning the fantasy novels of Discworld by Terry Pratchett into an all-singing, all-dancing set-up. What next for the West End stage?

Ghost The Musical will be at the Piccadilly Theatre in London from 22nd June 2011.