The latest TV musical, Hairspray Live!, has come and gone, begging the question of what might popular musical might be adapted next.
Hairspray Live! was the fifth live TV modern musical adaptation, following 2013's The Sound of Music Live!, 2014's Peter Pan Live!, 2015's The Wiz Live! and this past summer's Grease: Live. NBC has already announced that the 2017 musical will be an adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez, but it also leaves us wondering what else might be coming in the future.
Based on the pattern of these recent TV musicals, it seems that audience familiarity even outside of the Broadway world is key, as well as a certain level of family friendly content. Here are five musicals we could see being adapted to TV in the next few years:
Broadway's biggest smash in a long time seems like a great avenue to go in for a TV musical adaptation. Many have been desperate to see Hamilton over the past two years only to find the price tickets too high or simply be sold out altogether. The themes of Hamilton, which tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers, may have more adult themes but it could also be a vibrant and exciting educational experience for people of all ages.
The Lion King
ABC, which is owned by Disney, has not yet gotten into the live musical game but if they do, The Lion King is almost a no-brainer. Like the 1994 animated movie, the musical has been entertaining audiences of all ages for decades on Broadway, and the soundtrack is so well-known that people would undoubtedly be singing along with every song at home. While the production requires a lot of moving parts, it could be a truly impressive feat to behold.
Cats is finding newfound success again with its return to Broadway this year. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is very well known even to people not in the Broadway community. The plot may be nonsensical but the music is catchy enough and the visuals are striking enough that it could be a dazzling TV musical experience. Plus, what actress/singer wouldn't want to sing the iconic "Memory" for all of America to see?
Annie was just adapted to a feature film again in 2014 with Quvenzhané Wallis in the lead role of little orphan Annie. With this resurgence in buzz, it seems pretty likely that a TV musical might be on the way too, and like the lead role in Hairspray Live!, it could be a huge opportunity for a newcomer to make her mark on show business. The music, from "Maybe" to "It's a Hard Knock Life" to "Tomorrow", is also recognizable to a wide audience.
The Phantom of the Opera
One of the most successful pieces of entertainment in recorded history, The Phantom of the Opera is a cultural touchstone. The story of a disguised, disfigured man who falls in love with a beautiful opera singer named Christine has been entertaining the world for three decades now, grossing huge sums of money all over the world. While the musical is mostly serious, there is a certain, well, operatic nature that could surely amuse and enthrall people of all ages.
What do you think?