Hollywood and Broadway have always been kissin' cousins, but their relationship used to flow in a different direction. In the old days, Broadway shows would get turned into movies, and Broadway actors would become film stars. Now it's the other way around: Eleven of the 37 shows currently on Broadway are based on movies, and there are enough movie stars performing on the Great White Way to fill an Oscar ceremony.

Films ranging from Xanadu to The 39 Steps, from Legally Blonde to Cry-Baby, have inspired some of Broadway's current productions. Previous seasons have included new stage versions of Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Big, Sunset Blvd., The Wedding Singer, and The Full Monty, to name just a few.

And the occasional flop aside (Big? Seriously?), audiences are eating them up. I needn't repeat for you the phenomenal success of Broadway's The Lion King, Hairspray, and The Producers, the last two of which were so popular that they inspired new film versions. Broadway has often been accused of being too populist and middlebrow, and I guess you need look no further than the success of movie-based musicals for evidence of that. The purists scoff -- but The Producers, which is as broad and "low" a comedy as you can imagine, also earned a record number of Tony nominations and wins. So those scoffing purists are outnumbered, and I suspect a lot of them are secretly as entertained by the shows as everyone else is.
categories Cinematical