Broadway fans, it’s time to exit stage left and enter the world of off-broadway musicals. Theatre fans are aware of the famous novels behind some of our favorite musicals, but there are some hidden gems in our Spotify waiting to be rediscovered. Here are seven books you may not have known were adapted into musical albums and/or performances.
Wuthering Heights the Musical
I know Catherine and Heathcliff are already dramatic enough without musical theatre being involved, but this musical animates the character’s emotions in a way you can’t imagine. The musical came to life in 1992 as a studio recording and eventually went on to take the stage and earn a stamp of approval from the Bronte Society themselves. The Bronte Society has been known to reject previous attempts to stage the book, but Bernard J. Taylor was the first one to capture the essence of Emily Bronte’s passionate and tragic novel.
In case you’re still not done crying over this one, these Utah high school students have made this story even more magical. What started as 2 girls chatting about their favorite book quickly turned into them staging the novel as a musical. The project exploded as more and more people contributed to the show. The students even emailed Marissa Meyer herself and unexpectedly received not only permission for the show’s performance but an appearance from the author herself. Marissa Meyer has given this show 2 thumbs up and recommends fans listen to the cast album soon!
The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical
Going through Bridgerton withdrawals waiting for season 3? Here’s the cure, fans! This musical started its life as a Tik Tok. Singer-songwriter Abagail Barlow suggested the idea of a Bridgerton musical while singing a short verse she wrote with her composer Emily Bear. The TikTok’s popularity provoked her to team up with Emily again to create an entire album based on season 1. The album’s popularity grew as Abagail and Emily incorporated viewer suggestions and began performing the album live.
The album went on to receive the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album and was thriving after a performance at the Kennedy Center. Unfortunately, the musical hit a wall when Netflix decided to sue for copyright infringement. Netflix had reportedly shown support for the musical in its initial phase, however, took issue with the girls profiting off of a show they owned the rights to. This settlement has since been settled, so we can enjoy the musical with ease.
Ready to feel Nostalgic? The creepy and exciting Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine is haunting us once again, now as a musical. Writers Danny Abosch and John Maclay brought the musical to life after it was commissioned by the First Stage Children’s Theater and Oregon’s Children’s Theatre. You’ve heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but this musical is dedicated to the Phantom of the Auditorium. Not only did R.L. Stine approve of the musical, he even starred in the original cast album as principal Stine. The hauntingly beautiful songs of this musical are sure to bring you back to your days of reading Goosebumps under the covers.
This rags-to-riches story will warm your heart as creators Andrew Lippa and Brian Crawley bring the story of this resilient little girl to the stage. The Little Princess is praised for being one of the Top 100 Chapter Books of all Time as it is a tale for both children and adults to enjoy. The creators chose to reimagine this book by bringing it beyond Victorian England into Africa. This allowed the writers to make this musical rich in cultural and feminine themes. This story is sure to bring you back to your days of wishing you were a princess yourself.
Friday just got freakier as the novel Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers has made its stage debut. Most of us probably remember the movie adaptions of this novel, but this musical is sure to reaffirm your love for this heartfelt comedy. The musical was created by Disney Theatrical Productions and was praised for being a spunky and lively production. Unfortunately, Mary Rodgers passed away before she could see her book brought to the stage, but as a composer, we have no doubt she would approve of this musical adaption.
Pride and Prejudice the Musical
Any single book in possession of a good plot must be in want of a musical! This enemies-to-lovers romance was destined to make it to the stage but has yet to receive the spotlight it deserves. Writer Josie Brown was reading the novel one night when she began to reimagine it as a musical. Josie then partnered with Composer Rita Abrams and brought the story to the stage. The writers discovered that there had been two or three attempts to popularize the musical, but none of them went on to find success with it. Josie and Rita pride themselves in finding the winning combination to give this story the musical attention it deserves.
Time to head to your music streaming service and start listening to these amazing book-based musical albums!