It seems lately that just about any book or movie is fodder for musicals. Recently, I heard that the 80s black comedy Heathers, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, has become a musical as well as boxing movie Rocky.
Heathers? Rocky? Really???? Why!? Are we really so creatively bankrupt that instead of writing new musicals, we can only convert other cultural artifacts into slightly-altered new ones, full of badly-timed song-and-dance routines? And who decides what books or movies would make a good musical? It sounds to me like some of these people come up with ideas when they are either high or drunk.
For example, who would ever have thought that Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple, in which rape is a major theme, would make a good musical? You'd pretty much have to be drunk or high to come up with that. Yet, apparently, it did make a good musical, so successful, in fact, that it is on national tour right now.
On the other hand, it is an Oprah production, so perhaps its success was a foregone conclusion.
These weird choices for musicals make me wonder what other completely inappropriate, weird, or bonkers texts we could change into lucrative, big budget Broadway musicals with the added perk of completely draining the original of meaning and/or converting something odd and original into something shiny, polished and big-budget...
How about, for example, Heart of Darkness: The Musical!, featuring catchy tunes like "Mastuh Kurtz, He Dead" and "The Horror! The Horror!"?
We could then follow up that bouncy production with a thematically-appropriate follow up, Apocalypse Now: The Musical! We'll have people humming, "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning" quicker than you can say "South Pacific" three times fast.
Now that I think about it, As I Lay Dying is just waiting to be converted to a musical, starring James Franco, of course. He ruined the movie adaptation...why not ruin the musical, too?
But these are only books...what about movies? Heathers and Rocky and Clueless (yes, apparently also becoming a musical...though that one I would actually agree to see) were all movies first. So maybe movies are a more appropriate genre to adapt to the musical genre.
We could have, for example,
Schindler's List: The Musical! (lots of opportunities for big group numbers)
The English Patient: The Musical! (what a great dance number the cutting off the thumb scene would make!)
The Shining: The Musical! (with memorable tunes like "All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy")
Naked Lunch: The Musical! (I'll let your imagination run wild with that one...)
...and the list could go on and on. Virtually anything could become a musical. I mean, why not take memorable commercial personalities and let them get in on the action? We could have Geico Gecko: The Musical! Flo, the Progressive Girl: The Musical! or Eat Mor Chiken: The Chik-Fil-A Cows Musical!
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I'm chock-a-block full of these ideas...if any Broadway producers would like to hire me, just send my secretary an email. I'be happy to suggest more if you ever run out of ideas...
...after all, there's no horror in making money...is there?