Waiting to Be Made
Granted, Stephen Sondheim can be a very difficult composer to convert to film. Just look at the movies of his shows that made it (Sweeny Todd) with those that haven’t (A Little Night Music). In fact, this brilliant post-modern reinvention of the genre would be perfect for today’s commitment-phobic demo. The storyline revolves around a single man who’s not married, the walked wounded wedded couples who compete for his attention, and the desire for all to find real love and connection. With the right cast and a visionary behind the lens, this could be the next big Hollywood—and cultural—hit.
With CG and 3D so prevalent nowadays, this Andrew Lloyd Webber effort about toy trains coming to life seems ready for its cinematic close-up. Perhaps Pixar could champion the title, using its own unique blend of movie magic to take this rail-Cars to new heights. With some gorgeous animation, the added dimensional gimmick, and a lot of poppy disco beats, this could translate across generations to be a confirmed kitsch classic. Why someone has jumped at the chance to do this—or Cats for that matter—within the confines of the new cartooning format is flummoxing to say the least.
While the lyrics for Hair were all peace and love proclamations, it’s the amazing music that keeps the show in the decades-removed memories of the audience. While composer Galt MacDermot’s track record after the ‘60s smash was sketchy at best (Dude? Viva Galactica?), this Shakespeare-based show was a huge pop culture achievement. Hardly anyone in the early ‘70s didn’t know its name. Heck, it even beat out Follies and Grease for the Best Musical Tony in 1971! And since the story is all about love unrequited and betrothed, it has the makings for a truly memorable irreverent melodic RomCom.
Okay, so Roger “Dang Me” Miller isn’t the first name you associate with Great White Way success. But when the former “King of the Road” decided to adapt American literary classic Huckleberry Finn for Broadway, his homespun aw-shucks approach really resonated with audiences. Running for over 1000 performance, it made a megastar out of John Goodman and remains a singular work within the genre’s ‘80s minded love affair with big, gaudy productions. Done up right, with actual locations and a true regard for Twain’s words and wit, it’s a modern masterpiece just waiting to be discovered.
Smile is a lot like Hairspray. It was first a warmly regarded comedy by Michael Ritchie, a small indie effort about the most satiric of all entertainment scenarios, the beauty pageant. Then it was turned into a musical by hot composer Marvin Hamlisch (who won a Tony and a Pulitzer for A Chorus Line). It would be interesting to see this redone as a big splashy production with first class Tinseltown talent and a new found perspective on these meat locker make-over fests. As long as the director doesn’t fall in love with the faux celebratory theatrics of the concept, this has greatness written all over it.