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.

Wicked

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.

Oliver

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.

Joseph

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.

Godspell

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?

Shows Must Go On: Joseph

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream film began the Shows Must Go On. They treated it to us again to end the first series. I was introduced to Joseph as a child. As a kid, I was in the children’s choir at my church, and at the end of the year, we sang some songs from Joseph. But, through Shows Must Go On, I experienced the musical for the first time. In some ways Joseph is both a childhood musical and a post college musical.

Donny Osmond stars as Joseph. This musical is exciting, fun, and colorful. From songs like “Any Dream Will Do”, “Close Every Door”, etc.. all make it an incredible musical. I have seen three biblical musicals- only one on stage. I loved Godspell and Joseph, but disliked Jesus Christ Superstar when I saw it on The Shows Must Go On.

I feel like this musical is one of the suggestions I would give to someone for their first musical especially if it is a child. It has been frustrating, difficult, and annoying for musical theatre fans during this pandemic: shows that we wanted to see got postponed (for me, that would be Anastasia and Frozen). So, having things like this happen make us stay connected to musical theatre. I know that Broadway will return and that Blumenthal will open their doors again for Broadway Tours. Blumenthal promised Charlotte they will return.

The Magic of Christmas

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins

-Matthew 1:18-21

We are at a time of Celebration this time of year. Christmas is right around the corner and it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born to save us form our sins. This passage reminds us of the time before Jesus was born. Joseph was afraid because his wife, Mary was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. He almost divorced her, but in a dream an angel appeared to him saying that he should not be afraid. Christmas is a time to remember the birth and remember everything that Christ did for us. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

I still believe in the magic of Christmas. It is a time of giving and giving gifts reminds us of when the Magi arrived and presented Christ with three gifts. The magic of Christmas exists from Advent all the way to the end of the Christmas season. Giving is one of the greatest things ever. That is why I am glad that I am loving and willing to volunteer to help those in need. We need to remember everything Christ has done for us and why he is an important part of our lives.