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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: What movie would be the most horrifying one to adapt to a stage musical?

The other day I lamented the West End arrival next year of Ghost: The Musical. Today in the Telegraph there’s a review of the new stage version of Flashdance:

Hard on the heels of Fame, Dirty Dancing and Footloose comes Flashdance, another movie-derived dance musical, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The cynicism behind these shows is stunning. The movies were second-rate when first released, but women in their teens and early twenties loved them, and now have teenage daughters of their own. Time, then, to book the coach for a trip down memory lane and a Chardonnay-fuelled girls’ night out.

Buzzing on cheap white wine, the punters might even be tempted to splash out £60 on a special edition Flashdance Barbie doll at the merchandise counter. Sometimes, one wishes theatre producers could be hanged, drawn and quartered before a baying mob of those they have ripped off.

Ugh. If all that is required, it seems, to turn a film into a stage musical is a little bit of music in the original, then can it be long before we’re faced with the all-singing, all-dancing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which the whole production is like the parade bit when Ferris jumps up on the float? I can almost see the choreography in the museum segment already, as the actors ape the poses in the famous paintings –projected in the air above them, naturally — as they dance.

Double ugh.

But that’s nothing to dread next to the spectre of, say, Schindler’s List: The Musical — no one will be admitted during John Barrowman’s haunting rendition of “I Could Have Done More (for Them)” — or Saving Private Ryan with book and lyrics by Elton John.

What movie would be the most horrifying one to adapt to a stage musical?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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