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3 Unlikely Stage Musicals

October 13, 2015

The stage can be anything: a castle, the hills of Austria…even a fight club.

Fight Club

Before it was adapted into a film in 1995, Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club was considered “unfilmable.” It also seems like a stretch to adapt it into a stage musical—it’s an ultra-dark comedy about guys who try to feel more alive by beating each other to a pulp, and then bombing office buildings. (It may also be hard to stage the film’s famous twist ending regarding the identity of Tyler Durden, the character portrayed onscreen by Brad Pitt.) But a musical Fight Club is coming. Palahniuk says that he’s working on it with the film’s director David Fincher, as well as musician Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

Fight Club Musical

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Roger Rabbit was a watershed moment for film, flawlessly combining live action with animation. A major, if not essential, part of its appeal was witnessing real people interact convincingly with cartoon characters. If it’s all real people in front of an audience…it loses its edge. And yet, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Musical, featuring actors dressed in bunny costumes, was staged at a community theater in suburban Chicago in 1993, before enjoying a brief run in Los Angeles.

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is probably the only musical based on a documentary film. Released in 1975, the original film, by famed documentarians Albert and David Maysles, tracked the slow, sad descent of mother and daughter “Big” Edie Bouvier Beale and “Little” Edie Bouvier Beale in their decrepit, trash-filled East Hampton mansion. (They were related to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.) The cult classic was adapted into a musical in 2006, and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, and winning three.

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