Musicals I Love based on Books

A number of musicals are either based off a book, movie, or opera. There are times when literally, the musical is much better than the book. Now, what are some of my favorite book based musicals?

Les Misérables

This is one of Victor Hugo’s masterpieces. It is one of those musicals that is quite faithful to the book. Yes, there are a few differences, but I do love the changes. I love how Marius’ relationships are different in the musical. He is best friends with both Enjolras and Eponine the musical. As a matter of fact, I love that he is closer to both of those characters. Marius’ friendship with Eponine develops the love triangle even further- these two create one of my favorite musical friendships. Just like I love Eponine and Marius’ relationship, I also love the relationship between all the students: making Marius one of the main revolutionaries in some ways further develops Marius along with Enjolras. Those two relationships actually is deeper meaning that there would be more of an emotional punch in “A Little Fall of Rain” and creates a wonderful solo for Marius- “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.

Les Mis is such a powerful, epic, passionate, uplifting, and inspiring musical. The songs perfectly complement the characters.

This was probably one of the hardest musicals to adapt from the book. You are literally creating a musical that is based of a 1000+ book.


Well, the musical and book really aren’t faithful to each other. The book is more of a tragedy while the musical is more of a comedy. The friendship between Elphaba and Glinda, and the love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero aren’t exactly present in the book. I actually feel a stronger emotional connection to the musical. The fact that the musical centers around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda makes Wicked a powerful musical. I really think the love triangle adds a lot more- we see a more drastic transformation happen with Fiyero. The love triangle does strengthen the friendship: after all, you can truly see Elphaba and Glinda’s loyalty in the love triangle.

Phantom of the Opera

Yes, I never read the book. All I know is that the novel reads more like a gothic and horror genre. My favorite characters in the musical are Raoul and Christine- I really love their romance. The musical has such a mysterious, beautiful, and angelic love triangle.


I actually saw the stage show before reading the book- however don’t remember that first experience. So I eventually saw the musical again, but that time through the film. I learned to love Nancy even more in the musical- you really get to see her affection for Oliver grow, and with the addition of “As Long As He Needs Me” makes you care for that character even more.

Man of La Mancha

Don Quixote is one of my favorite books. The musical can be a bit confusing due to ” story within a story concept”. You really feel like you are in Spain due to the hispanic sound of the song. I loved how Aldonza is actually a character- it almost in some ways makes Don Quixote a better character in some ways. Don Quixote was the first tragicomic character I came across- still don’t fully understand that concept, but it does fascinate me.


Shows based on stories found in the Bible count. I actually was introduced to this musical in elementary school- I was in the children’s choir at church, and for our end of year performance, we sang songs from Joseph. However, I didn’t fall in with the musical until this year- love those songs.


While still on the topic of the Bible, Godspell is one of them. This is just one of three Stephen Schwartz musicals I love. It takes place during the last couple of days before the crucifixion. It almost feels as if they inserted the story into a modern setting- that has to do with the costumes.

What about you, what are some of your favorite book based musicals?

19 thoughts on “Musicals I Love based on Books

    • Read the book twice as well- first the abridged and eventually the unabridged. What helped with reading Les Misérables was my knowledge of the musical.

      My top two favorite musicals are Wicked and Les Mis.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think Les Miz is probably my absolute favorite that was based off of a book, but I also love The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Jekyll & Hyde!


    • While my top two favorite musicals are based off of books, it is kinda of strange to include Wicked.

      Only because Wicked doesn’t exactly feel as if it is based off the book. Only because of severally different the book and musical are.

      Les Mis, on the other hand, does feel like it is based of the book: due to how faithful it is to the book

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, for sure! Wicked’s definitely a lot different from the book in most ways, I think, besides maybe the plot in its broadest form.


      • So in some ways, Les Mis is my favorite musical based on a book. Les Mis is more faithful to the book then Wicked is


  2. I had no idea Wicked was based on a book! Even if it is different, I’m curious to read it. And the novel of The Phantom of the Opera is beautiful, but it’s totally different than the musical. It’s more of a dark detective novel with a detective trying to solve the case of the opera ghost, and Christine and others are more of background characters. Less romance, but definitely a gorgeous novel! Gaston Leroux is a wonderful writer.


    • Wicked is extremely different both ways- the characters and the plot are not who we know them to be in the musical.

      I actually am kinda of unsure if I want to read Phantom of the Opera- I don’t like horror novels. So been putting that one off

      Liked by 1 person

      • ahh fair enough. I bought son of a witch and was thinking of getting into it but I forgot what happened in wicked the book, and where it left off and can not be bothered to go through it again. was going to ask if it is worth it. Hope youre well 🙂


      • When it come to a series, I have to love the first book. If I don’t, wouldn’t want to read the rest of the series.

        The newest fantasy series I hope to read belongs to Nevermoor. Heard that Harry Potter fans would love it.

        I am well- just so read to see musicals again. That is feeling that it is taking forever. Hope to see Hadestown next October.


      • Ah yes I am the same I need to be hooked but I only recently found out that it has a sequel haha. and ooh never heard of that I shall take a look into it. I cant wait to get back to the theatres either. I just want to get back into the venues and see my faces again 😦 hopefully it settles down soon x


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