Friday, October 18, 2019

The Friday 5: 5 Musicals Based on Children's/Young Adult Novels

With this week's opening of The Lightning Thief, we though we'd take a Friday 5 look five of our favorite (and not so favorite) shows based on other young adult/children's novels. How many of these have you seen? Did we miss one of your favorites (or not so favorites)? let us know!

The Friday 5:
5 Musicals Based on
Children's/Young Adult Novels

Here they are, in chronological order:

The Secret Garden: 1991
Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this gorgeous musical with a ravishing, sweeping score by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, is long overdue for a full-scale revival. The cast boasted the talents of no less than Mandy Patinkin, Rebecca Luker, John Cameron Mitchell, Alison Fraser and Tony-winner Daisy Egan. Among the notable replacements were Howard McGillin, and, in her Broadway debut, Audra Ann McDonald.

Little Women: 2005
Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, we still can't believe it had such a short run (just 137 performances). It was great in all ways. It was glorious in its old-fashioned style, and yet still felt modern. And there isn't a bad song in Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein's score - favorite tunes include "Five Forever," "Take a Chance on Me," "Our Finest Dreams," and the tear-jerker "Some Things Are Meant to Be." How about a revival with Timothee Chalamet as Laurie?

Matilda: The Musical: 2013
Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, this is one of my favorite shows of all time. Dennis Kelly's razor sharp book and Tim Minchin's witty, tuneful score is brilliant - full of delights for all ages, which does great service to Dahl's classic. It brought us Bertie Carvel for the first time, the wonderfully wicked Lesli Margherita and Tony-winner Gabriel Ebert. And I get misty at the mere thought of the beautiful, haunting "When I Grow Up." A great night of theater.

Tuck Everlasting: 2016
Based on the novel by Natalie Babbitt, here's another show that had a regrettably short run (a mere 39 performances). It was visually stunning and featured a gorgeous ballet choreographed (and directed) by Casey Nicholaw. And when you have a cast that includes Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello, Michael Park and Terrence Mann, how bad could it really have been?

Be More Chill: 2019
Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, this short-lived, noisy and hyper show by Joe Iconis certainly has its devotees. Unfortunately, I'm not among them. That said, it bears acknowledging that this show represents the beginning of an era, not just because it has introduced thousands of young people to the joy of live theater, but also for its use of the internet and social media. It's the first "viral" musical, and it would be foolish not to see the importance of that in the future.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****
The Answers to Last Week's Friday 5 Quiz:
5 Broadway Costumes

1. Kinky Boots - Charlie Price

2. Cats - Grizabella

3. Les Miserables - Fantine

4. SpongeBob SquarePants - SpongeBob

5. A Chorus Line - Al and Kristine

Look for a new quiz next week!


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