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The Resurgence of the movie musical, and 5 upcoming adaptations to look forward to

Movie musicals dominated popular cinema throughout the 20th century with films like Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Sound of Music (1965), and Cabaret (1972) becoming instant classics. In the past, musicals represented great American beliefs and stories, capitalizing on tales of bravery, adventure, and love. However, the early 21st century did not establish quite the same love for the movie musical. The occasional film adaptation like Chicago (2002), Dreamgirls (2006), or Les Misérables (2012) would gain some traction, but there was never a true resurgence — at least not until now. 

Live theatre, and by extension movie musicals, have made a huge comeback in the past few years with shows like Wicked (2003) and Hamilton (2015) becoming popular culture icons. The internet is largely to thank for this comeback, allowing shows to become more accessible to wider audiences. Social media has also played its part in giving young people the chance to form connections with like-minded individuals in the community. Stage-to-screen adaptations have only continued the effort by making expensive Broadway musicals more affordable and palatable to the masses. Here are some upcoming adaptations to get you hooked to the re-emerging world of theatre. 

  1. In the Heights (2021)

Based on the four-time Tony Award winning musical from the genius mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights follows the death of an eccentric New York City neighborhood. Director of Crazy Rich Asian (2018) Jon M. Chu builds a technicolor world from Miranda’s words that’s breathtaking on the big screen. Miranda showcases the iconic pop and rap styles of this generation in a tale about love, community, and dreams everyone can relate to. In the Heights comes out in theaters and HBO Max on June 11th, 2021.

  1. West Side Story (2021)

The time has come for a remake of the 1961 classic West Side Story. A talented, young cast paired with veteran director Steven Spielberg makes this adaptation one you won’t want to miss. West Side Story is a reimagining of the famous Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, which tells the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers. Though the musical has been revived both on and off-Broadway several times, including at the beginning of 2020, this is only the second film adaptation, and it has big shoes to fill. West Side Story comes to theaters December 10th, 2021. 

  1. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

16-year old Jamie New isn’t exactly normal, but one thing he knows for certain is that he’s going to be a star. The hit West End Musical, based off the 2011 BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, aims to reach new audiences with this upcoming adaptation. A fresh-faced cast of new and experienced actors leads this out of the box underdog story of art, acceptance, and individuality. Though no new release date has been set after multiple pushbacks, hopefully we’ll see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie later this year.

  1. Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)

Based on the semi autobiographical musical of the same name by the late Johnathan Larson, Tick, Tick…Boom! sees an aspiring composer questioning his career path. Industry heavy hitters Andrew Garfield and Vanessa Hudgens star in this feature directorial debut from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Though no release date has officially been announced, Tick, Tick…Boom! is scheduled to come out later this year on Netflix.

  1. Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

Director Stephen Chbosky brings this 6-time Tony Award winning fan-favorite musical to the big screen. Inspired by a true story, Dear Evan Hansen follows a teenage boy as he accidentally becomes a grieving family’s only link to their late son. Ben Platt stars in the titular role, which he originally played on Broadway, and is accompanied by a slew of A-list stars. Dear Evan Hansen will be released in theaters on September 24th, 2021. 

With this revitalization of musical theatre, I look forward to the opportunities that’ll arrive to provide lesser-known shows with larger platforms and breathe new life into old classics.


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