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janbb's avatar

Are there some stories that should not be made into a musical?

Asked by janbb (62090points) 1 month ago

I saw Oliver! last night in my film class. The story as written by Dickens is powerful and dramatic and the film was brilliantly acted. However, the film kept breaking out into huge production numbers with dancing butchers and nursemaids. The songs are good songs but for me, they totally detracted from the compelling plot.

Another example is a musical of Raisin in the Sun which is being produced locally as a musical – Raisin! (Perhaps the lesson is if they dropped off most of the title and put an exclamation point, don’t go see it.)

What’s your take? Are there novels or plays that you think should not be musicalized?

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18 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

“The Killing Fields” would be an odd musical. Dancing and singing your way to forced labor, starvation, and random executions? No thanks.

But then again, many people loved “The Producers” which was centered around making the most deplorable possible musical.

canidmajor's avatar

Although Showboat didn’t make it cute, the depiction of racism and oppression in the post Civil War South was a little too charming and “tragic and wonderful” for my taste.

janbb's avatar

I’m thinking of titles now for inappropriate musicals:

Mice! Men!

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo Though that was the satirical point of The Producers.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

A Nightmare on Elm Street.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The Helan Keller biography.

Entropy's avatar

I don’t think anything should be off limits. It’s about how well it’s done. If they made a musical about the Holocaust, I doubt there’s anyone who would disagree that this would be in bad taste. However, if it’s handled well and the satire is kind of the point, I think a musical, just like any satire, could work.

But the more inappropriate the subject matter, the greater the downside if you fail to pull it off.

gondwanalon's avatar

This reminds me of the movie “The Producers” where they tried to made a musical that would be a certain flap. They selected “Springtime for Hitler”. So funny!

How about a musical about Nixon’s Memoirs. I read it. Another sure flop. But might make a hilarious comedy musical.

ragingloli's avatar

Personally, I would love a musical adaptation of “Downfall”.

rockfan's avatar

I think any story can be told using music as long as it’s tasteful. As for novels though, I think it’s a case by case basis.

The thing I hate the most is when comedy/drama movies are turned into musicals. Such as Elf, A Christmas Story, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Catch Me If You Can, Shrek, Legally Blonde and Mean Girls. They take away the humor that made the original films genuinely funny, and they add cheesy songs with cringe inducing lyrics.

NoMore's avatar

Probably, but that would more than likely create issues about free speech either from the Left or the Right in today’s politically charged atmosphere.

Acrylic's avatar

If done well anything could be a musical. I’ll write a song about anything, whatever. It’s art, no room for limits.

rebbel's avatar

Anne Frank.
I think there’s a play on it, and I feel like there was a controversy some years ago that might have been about plans to adopt it for a musical.

snowberry's avatar

Les Miserables was a tragedy, but it was so well done. I don’t think anything was lost in the telling of the story. It continues to be compelling.

So if they could do such a wonderful job turning Les Miserables into a musical, I’m sure it can be done with similar themes, maybe even with some of the stories mentioned here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, Musicals went out in the 60s, thank goodness! Before that EVERY damn movie was a musical.

raum's avatar

A musical about the Holocaust? Maybe.

A musical based on Mein Kampf? No.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well there was the Sound of Music @raum

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