Remaining time: 

The Allure Of The Silver Screen On Stage

With the news that An American In Paris transfers to Dominion Theatre in March 2017 it is clear that for American musicals the only way is up… to London. What makes the West End so attractive to American producers and our British likes and dislikes for musicals shared with our US counterparts. There is a security with productions we know from the silver screen and I will take a look at the best screen to stage (or stage to screen to stage in some cases) musicals in London now and in the future

I believe the attraction to An American In Paris is pure old Hollywood; the film had Gene Kelly as its star, Vincente Minnelli as the film’s director and the golden touch of George Gershwin. George Gershwin is old Hollywood composition and there is glamour with his work that the British just don’t have.

Perhaps that last sentence is unfair; the British can inspire Broadway musicals, Kinky Boots is a very British story about a shoe factory in Northampton. Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper took a British film (which includes Chiwetel Ejiofor’s excellent songs about shoes medley) and made it a classic American musical. It is the most exciting new musical on the London stage at the moment but there are so many excellent productions that I am struggling to keep up!

There are the old classics like Disney’s The Lion King, which is now in its 17th year and Disney are now adding Aladdin to its West End portfolio. It makes complete commercial sense to adapt classic films into musicals; audiences are familiar with the story so it becomes a safe evening (especially if you have spent a lot on tickets, programmes and sweets) and you are bringing along children. For many musicals were their first theatrical experience for this very reason; it was already a familiar concept.

Even as an adult the musicals I am attracted are based on stories familiar to me; The Bodyguard, which also contains the fabulous Beverley Knight, Funny Girl, with Sheridan Smith, Sunset Boulevard, Guys and Dolls, and Mrs Henderson Presents were either originally known as films or in some cases appeared on the stage, then film and now stage again.

No doubt getting big names is an important part of West End musicals being successful but the reputation alone can see a musical survive for years and years without big names. The Lion King’s star is its name; Dream Girls is coming over with a respected but not necessarily household name in Amber Riley because its reputation as a production (and its eventual stage adaptation where Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award) is known worldwide. For many musicals to succeed in London the unique selling point is simply “I loved the film of that!”

Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.

Related news

London Theatre Review: Bitter Wheat at the Garrick Theatre

Posted on | By London Theatre Direct |

Bitter Wheat takes the once statuesque golden figure of a film-making mogul and smashes it into little pieces in... Read more

Top 5 Max Martin Songs featured in & Juliet

Posted on | By Jade Ali |

The West End has been a haven of girl power in 2019 with the likes of Six featuring Henry VIII’s wives who... Read more

5 Performances to watch at West End Live 2019!

Posted on | By Kay Johal |

West End Live is hitting Trafalgar Square for another year on this weekend the 22-23 June 2019 and I will of course b... Read more

Follow us for instant updates and special offers

Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear about new West End shows and exclusive ticket discounts. We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time. But we hope you won’t!