Literary Adaptations that Would Be a Smash

Literary Adaptations that Would Be a Smash


The upcoming premiere of NBC’s “Smash” got us thinking: With all the books finding their way to the screen, it’s time to get more on the stage. Broadway musicals like “Wicked” and “The Color Purple” were based on books, as well as a number of less-successful shows—talks have been going on for quite some time about a Fight Club musical, a Lord of the Rings musical had a short stint in London, not to mention the show centered on a certain comic book hero with a propensity for crashing. But what will be the next big show-stopping book? We have some suggestions.

“Cujo” by Stephen King
Stephen King’s prom night horror story, “Carrie,” has already been adapted for the stage, so why not take “Cujo” to the Great White Way? King’s tale of a rabid St. Bernard terrorizing a mother and son is as terrifying and violent as “Sweeney Todd.” So who would play the villainous dog? A puppet, of course. It worked for “War Horse,” didn’t it?

“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” has already been made into an opera—someone should follow the lead of “La Boheme” and “Rent”-ify it. Make Pierre a Columbia Grad student, Andrei an aspiring marine, find a Russian Rock band and prepare for three hours of sung philosophy, complete with jazz hands.

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
Jobs was renowned for his dedication to a sleek, unencumbered aesthetic—so obviously his life story was destined for the Broadway stage. And who better to bring it there than Stephen Schwarz, who has already proven his book-adapting prowess with “Wicked?” Beginning with a duet of the Steves (Jobs and Wozniak)—”One Short Day in the Silicon Valley”—the musical will follow Jobs through several ballads along his tumultuous rise to power. Audience participation for anyone who brings an iPad.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke
This sci fi musical will open with the number “Evolution of Man,” which will include nine minutes of continuous monkey-suit breakdancing to Strauss’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” Neil Patrick Harris—as the voice of Hal, the ship’s computer—will lead the audience through Clarke’s vision of the future, as they politely ignore that it’s set more than 10 years in the past.

“Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
Take this epic tale of intrigue and betrayal out of the medieval setting and drop it in the modern day: President Baratheon invites Canadian Prime Minister Stark to Washington, not suspecting the treachery of his wife Cersei, daughter of Wall Street exec Tywin. The show would unfold entirely from the perspective of Tyrion and include such numbers as “My Kingdom for a Whore.”

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
With a major movie release coming up, where else does “The Hunger Games” have to go but the stage? The biggest difficulty will be blending the dark emotional themes with the audience’s expectations of action. The solution: after Peeta’s solo in the first-act finale, “If I Must Die,” leaves you in tears, the second act will be 45 minutes of uninterrupted combat.


Leave a Reply