5 Beloved Movies Coming To Broadway This Spring
Movie remakes are always tricky. Even if you’ve been waiting months to see a fresh take on a classic, most of us inevitably spend our time scrutinizing every single creative change made, from casting to costumes. But it seems Broadway is up to the challenge this spring, bringing a handful of beloved films from the big screen to the Great White Way.
A few of them, like 1997’s animated film, Anastasia, seem made for stage with emotional ballads already queued for the playbill. Others aren’t so obvious. Like Groundhog Day, the new musical based on the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray. That’s right, there’s now a song and dance about Punxsutawney Phil.
So which remakes are really worthy of an encore (and the steep price of admission)? Read on for our top five.
Two words: Bette Midler. The veteran actress got theater nerds buzzing when she announced she’d take on the iconic role of Dolly Levi in the musical revival that first came to Broadway in 1964 and then hit the big screen with Barbra Streisand in 1969 (above). The story itself stays pretty consistent, following Dolly as the lively matchmaker at the turn of the 20th century who falls for her “half-a-millionaire” client Horace Vandergelder (David Hyde Pierce). But the production itself is already breaking records, grossing over $1.96 million in sales in a single week. Run—don’t walk—to score a ticket. Now in previews at the Shubert Theater (opens April 20), hellodollyonbroadway.com for tickets
Pretty much every 90’s kid remembers Anastasia, the 1997 animated film following the story of the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, who was one of the only members of the Imperial family to survive the Russian Revolution. The musical, starring Christy Altomare as Anya, brings the rich history of Russia and the lightness of Paris to life, as the young royal learns the truth about her past (yes, the Oscar-nominated song, "Journey to the Past” still gets its shining moment). A close look at the costumes, designed by Tony winner Linda Cho, makes it worth the splurge for an orchestra seat.Now playing at the Broadhurst Theater; anastasiabroadway.com for tickets
If you loved the quirky French romcom from 2001 starring Audrey Tautou (above), the musical adaptation brings the same joie de vivre. Phillipa Soo (best known for originating the role of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in Hamilton) steps in as the shy Parisian waitress with an active imagination on her search for a happy ending. Expect to feel all those familiar warm fuzzies when you leave the theater. Now playing at the Walter Kerr Theater; ameliebroadway.com for tickets
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Finally, you can get your very own golden ticket to the wonderfully weird world of Willy Wonka. Christian Borle (of Smash fame) is the musical’s resident Mr. Wonka, leading Charlie, Augustus, Veruca, Violet, and the rest of the gang into his guise of pure imagination. The story, of course, is adapted from Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, but expect it to skew closer to the 2005 Johnny Depp film (above) than the 1971 Gene Wilder one, which was named Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Now playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater; charlieonbroadway.com for tickets
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Bill Murray (above, with Andie MacDowell) in the role of arrogant weatherman Phil Connors. But two-time Tony nominee Andy Karl is the new and improved version of Phil, this time singing and dancing through Punxsutawney, P.A. as he relives the same day over and over. Don’t worry, he still ends up falling for his associate producer Rita, played in the film by MacDowell, and in the musical by Barrett Doss. Now playing at the August Wilson Theater; ticketmaster.com for tickets