Once upon a time, movie musicals started their entertainment lives as stage shows, primarily on Broadway but also in London's West End theater district. Remember stage musicals like "My Fair Lady," "The Sound of Music," "Oliver," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Annie," all of which started as hits in the theater and then went on to become blockbuster movies? Well that trend in 2011 is now exactly the reverse. In the London theater district, as of March, there are at least eight big-budget stage musicals that started their entertainment lives as movies, several of which were not even musical films but have been given musical adaptations for the stage.
Among the current London musicals based on movies are:
- "Dirty Dancing," a musical based on the 1987 hit movie about a dance camp romance starring the late Patrick Swayze;
- "Ghost – the Musical," based on another 1990 hit film with Patrick Swayze that also earned Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar award;
- "Legally Blonde – the Musical," based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, and winner of London's 2011 Olivier Award for Best New Musical;
- "Shrek – the Musical," based on the series of hit animation movies starring the world's most famous green ogre;
- "Priscilla Queen of the Desert," based on the 1994 Australian film about a group of drag queen entertainers on a performing bus tour of Australia;
- "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," a stage version of the 1964 French musical film starring Catherine Deneuve,
- "The Wizard of Oz," a faithful stage adaptation of the 1939 Judy Garland film classic.
Other London stage choices currently include:
- "Thriller Live," a musical tribute to Michael Jackson;
- "Woody Sez," a musical tribute to the American folk song pioneer Woody Guthrie; and,
- "Frankenstein," a hit thriller about the creation of the famous monster based more on the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley than on the 1931 film starring Boris Karloff.
Tip: Same day of performance tickets are available at deep discounts at the TKTS booth operated by the Society of London Theatre in Leicester Square, located in the heart of the London West End. Most of the musicals mentioned above are currently available at up to half off the box office price plus a small service charge per ticket. If you decide not to buy your tickets from your tour operator or through your travel agent in advance, you should be able to find something in advance. And did you know that advance purchased theater tickets can be insured along with the rest of your prepaid trip on your travel insurance policy.