From Rent and Hairspray to The Sound of Music, Chicago, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, turning broadway musicals into big-budget Hollywood blockbusters is not a new trend. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and Ryan Murphy’s Prom are just around the corner. Whether its a ballad-infused drama or a high-energy story of merry murderesses, a little bit of song and dance on the silver screen never gets old. And, based on recent reports, a handful of famous musicals are soon to receive cinematic adaptations.
Whether trapped in development hell or in early stages of production, the following musical film adaptations are on the way…but could be several years off.
Rumors of a Wicked movie began to surface almost as soon as the Wizard of Oz prequel hit the stage with Idina Menzel belting “Defying Gravity.” Yet, if you care to find this musical adaptation, hold on to your horses, or should we say broom? According to Playbill, Marc Platt Productions and Universal Studios are behind the movie. Winnie Holzman is behind the screenplay and Stephen Daldry will reportedly direct; however, the cast remains to be determined. And, Stephen Schwarts is set to write a few new songs for the film too! The movie is scheduled to premiere in December of 2021, but may be facing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. ‘Sunset Boulevard’
The Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard first opened on the Great White Way in 1991. The Broadway show is based on the 1950 movie of the same name starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond — the fading silent movie star stuck in a state of delusional grandeur.
The classic film — typifying the noir genre — was not a musical, but the next film will draw inspiration from the Glenn Close-led stage production. Glenn Close also wishes to reprise her role to sing the iconic “As If We Never Say Goodbye” once more. But, this time, the performance will be permanent. Some reports indicate that the film could surface as soon as 2021, as whatsonstage notes. Playbill notes that Paramount Pictures will be behind the film with Rob Ashford set to direct.
Pippin recently saw a Broadway revival with Patina Miller in a role made famous by Ben Vareen: The Leading Player. Storyline Entertainment will be behind the upcoming production. Most news regarding this musical remains unconfirmed or to be determined. Without a director, a screenwriter, or a cast, Pippin awaits us in the distant future!
4. ‘Merrily We Roll Along’
The film adaptation for Merrily We Roll Along has already landed some impressive performer; Ben Platt, Beanie Feldstein, and Blake Jenner will star in the film. The only catch: the film will take 20 years to film. Director Richard Linklater (known for 2014’s Boyhood) will take 20 years to finish the project, which correlates with the show’s 20-year saga. Hopefully, Stephen Sondheim fans will return to the theater once more for this adaptation.
Follies is yet another Stephen Sondheim favorite. The musical features some of the lyricist/composer’s most well-known numbers, including “Losing My Mind,” “Could I Leave You,” and “I’m Still Here.” As Playbill notes, BBC Films and Heyday Films are behind the adaptation with Dominic Cooke set to direct.