From Screen to Stage: Hit Movies Turned Musicals

Often times Hollywood takes Broadway’s biggest hits and brings them to the big screen. In other cases, it happens the other way around. Here are some of the most successful stage adaptations of hit movies.

School of Rock

This musical based on the 2003 Jack Black film is one of Broadway’s most energetic new shows. The story follows broke but passionate rocker Dewey, who winds up impersonating his roommate Ned to land a substitute teaching job at a prestigious middle school. Seeing strong musical potential in the class of well-mannered students, Dewey teaches them how to rock with the goal of winning a local Battle of the Bands competition. The show’s music was written by famed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and has been performed on Broadway for the past year to positive reviews.

The Lion King

Disney has turned many of their timeless films into stage shows, including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, and Aladdin. However, The Lion King is by far the most successful entry on this list as a box office smash in both movie and musical form. The 1994 animated flick earned nearly $1 billion worldwide, and was the highest-grossing film of the year. Three years later, the story of Simba the lion cub arrived on Broadway, where it has been a staple ever since. The production features the film’s famed music by Elton John and Tim Rice, including “Hakuna Matata,” “Circle of Life,” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” The Tony Award-winning hit surpassed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera as Broadway’s highest-grossing production and third longest-running musical of all time.


The 1996 film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel has become one of Broadway’s most critically acclaimed shows. Matilda the Musical originally opened in London’s West End in 2011 before premiering at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre two years later. The adaptation earned rave reviews and five Tony Awards for its fun retelling of the titular girl with amazing powers who is stuck in a family that doesn’t appreciate or understand her. Matilda the Musical is currently on tour in North America and slated to close on Broadway in January 2017, so be sure to see it before it’s too late!

Dirty Dancing

The beloved 1987 film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze breathes new life in a stage adaptation that is just as easy to fall in love with. Set in 1963, the stage show includes all the infectious songs featured in the movie, such as “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey! Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and of course the signature dance tune “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Laugh, cry, and dance along with Baby and Johnny as they embark on a heated summer romance for the ages. Dirty Dancing is currently traveling to venues across the country through mid-2017.


14 years after the 1988 film Hairspray was released, the story of bubbly Tracy Turnblad was brought to Broadway, where it enjoyed a successful six-year run. The stage musical took home eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical. Its popularity on Broadway sparked a 2007 remake of the film and is set to air on NBC next month as a live production starring Ariana Grande, Martin Short, Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Hudson.

The Bodyguard

The iconic music of Whitney Houston is put in the spotlight in The Bodyguard, the musical adaptation of the 1992 romance starring Houston and Kevin Costner. Beloved songs like “Saving All My Love,” “How Will I Know,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and of course, “I Will Always Love You” are featured in the musical, which is currently in the midst of a North American tour and rumored to open on Broadway in the near future.

Finding Neverland

Discover the history behind one of the most iconic children’s stories in Finding Neverland, which centers around J.M. Barrie, the playwright who wrote Peter Pan. Originally a 2004 film starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland opened on Broadway in 2015 after premiering in England three years before. While the Broadway production closed earlier this year, a North American tour is still underway, spreading the magic of Neverland to theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

Groundhog Day

The 1993 comedy about a weatherman (Bill Murray) caught living February 2 on repeat will make its Broadway debut in 2017 after premiering in London this year. Groundhog Day is sure to be a zany, fun and energetic take on the classic film that audiences can enjoy on any day of the year.


Once generated surprising box office success as an independent film in 2007, and its music was the key ingredient for transforming it into a Broadway smash. The love ballad “Falling Slowly” earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song, giving the film and later musical more notoriety. Once ran for nearly three years on Broadway and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical.