Stage to Screen: stupendous or a cinema sin?

Joanne Sadler (@joelsa29) discusses the new Wicked movie
A screen-to-stage adaptation is a common occurrence, and are often well received. Ask anyone and I’m sure they can name half a dozen of these successes, from Oliver to Shrek, all the way to the exceptional Legally Blonde, which was always bound to be ridiculously successful with its powerful soundtrack and star studded cast.

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But a much less common adaptation is one from stage-to-screen. Prior to researching, I could only name two of these adaptations: Chicago and Wicked- which just so happens to be the inspiration behind this post. With all the news of the Wicked movie adaptation set for 2018, I couldn’t help wondering if it was going to be a total success, or a total flop.

Obviously – as with every medium – musical theatre has a dedicated, passionate set of followers, with some musicals gaining cult status and others barely scraping the bottom of the barrel. But how exactly do people feel about their favourite musicals being turned into a box office hit?

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Due to the huge budget of the film practically ensuring the quality of the special effects and the soundtrack, it seems that the main concern about the film is the casting. With rumours of Nicole Scherzinger, Lea Michele and even Harry Styles starring in the film floating about, people are growing ever more worried that such a strong musical will be ruined when it reaches cinemas next year.

And thus the question arises, are stage-to-screen adaptions a wonderful or an atrocious idea? While recording and releasing live versions of stage shows like Newsies and Billy Elliot (admittedly both had film versions as well, but let’s overlook that) worked out well, those were completely different to this adaptation, where both the story and the music are at risk of being altered. So, what exactly can we expect with this and any other stage-to-screen adaptation (I’d love to see a Dear Evan Hansen TV show, anyone else?) to come? Nobody can be sure, but I feel like we should – as difficult as it may be – put our faith in the film, and not judge the studio too harshly if it butchers our favourite musical.
Personally, I’m excited, yet truly terrified.  I have a special connection with Wicked as it was the musical that got me into musicals, and the first I saw and really engaged with, and it will always have a special place in my heart, so the idea of having it changed at all is immensely scary. I’ve had my doubts from the beginning, but that will not stop me from going to the cinema, forking out an extortionate amount for a premier seat and loving every second of it.

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