Monday, October 02, 2006

Crossing forms: Rocking on to the stage

There has been an extreme amount of "remanufacturing" on Broadway the past 10 or so years. I suppose you can always argue that there is in fact nothing new under the sun when blockbusters like Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and even RENT have roots elsewhere.

In my opinion some of the more disappointing product to be spawned by the Great White Way include musical adaptations of films like FAME or Footloose. Although I did have high hopes that the tractor would have made it on stage in the latter. I suppose it was also only a matter of time before one of Sammy Hagar's songs made it into a musical.

Even the weight of Disney's juggernauts like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King didn't guarantee success for Tarzan, one of the first review headlines it got read "Tarzan: Me Critic, You Lame."

Some of the more recent adaptations of films to musicals, like Monty Python's Spamalot and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, appear to have quite a bit more promise.

Now it appears that rockers are going to get into the act. I just read a story in Variety today claiming that Flaming Lips are working on a stage musical based on "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," and "Barely Breathing" crooner Duncan Shiek (who asks that you not hold that bubble-gum phase against him) is almost set to open a new musical adaptation of Franz Wedekind's expressionistic coming of age tale Spring Awakening. Also mentioned in the story are projects based on the songs of The Smiths and Patty Griffin.

I have to admit that I'm very, very interested in seeing both the "Yoshimi" musical as well as Shiek's take on Spring Awakening.

And I suppose I shouldn't be surprised in 2026 when TBPAC's 45th season offers up the Jersey Boys-esque first national tour of Smells Like Teen Spirit: The life and death of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.



- Kari G. said...

Just in case you were wondering if such adaptations are only limited to Broadway musicals, enjoy a review of the new opera "Sophie's Choice" playing at the Washington National Opera.

Yes, that Sophie's Choice...

TBPAC said...

Ahh, let's also not forget the Dead Man Walking opera.

Now we even have a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing going on between the Footloose musical and Dead Man Walking opera ...