What comes to mind when you hear Matilda, The Color Purple, and Oliver Twist? The books by Roald Dahl, Alice Walker, and Charles Dickens, of course! But did you know that these titles, and more, have been made into popular musicals, and that some of your favorite musicals are based on books? Well below are seven musicals based on books that just might surprise you.
Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, took the world by storm seventeen years ago, and is based on the first book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire. It is the first book of The Wicked Years series. So if you like the musical and want more, there are three sequel books that you can check out.
Carrie, a beloved cult classic by Stephen King, became a musical in 1988 and had an Off-Broadway revival in 2012.
The Phantom of the Opera
Yes, that Phantom of the Opera. The 1968 musical, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is based on a book written in 1910 by French author, Gaston Leroux, originally titled Le Fantôme de l’Opéra.
You guessed it; that book you had to read in sixth grade has also been turned into a musical. Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 novel, Tuck Everlasting, which has become a class of children’s literature and has had a run on the banned books list, took to the stage back in 2015 and had a thirty-nine show run before closing production.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Another well-known literary classic turned musical is seen in Jekyll and Hyde, whose musical narrative takes inspiration from the 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson… with multiple renditions and revivals bringing the gothic thriller into public view.
Be More Chill
With original music and lyrics by Joe Iconics, this musical captured public attention back in 2015 and had a limited run on Broadway in 2019. But what fans might not know is that Be More Chill is based on a book by American author, Ned Vizzini.
Fans of the Percy Jackson series were devastated by the 2010 film adaptations, so much so that they got together and made a musical! The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is a faithful adaptation of the first book in author Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It had a limited run on Broadway earlier in January 2020.