The Overwhelming Influence of Movie Media on Broadway


Photo via @playbill on Twitter

Mean Girls the musical opened on Broadway on April 8, 2018.

By Alexandra Marusko, Social Media Editor

Just like any other entertainment platform, Broadway has had its fair share of influence from other platforms.

One of the factors that has made Broadway great is the amount of original content, new music and fresh stories brought to the stage.

From classics such as “Grease” and “A Chorus Line,” to newer musicals like “The Book of Mormon” and “In the Heights,” Broadway has always had a steady flow of original content.

However, in recent years, that “steady” flow has dwindled.

For the past three years in a row, there has been at least one musical nominated for best musical at the Tony awards based off of a movie.

In 2018 alone, all four musicals nominated were based off of a movie or tv show.

Currently, 11 shows are running on Broadway based off of movies.

Tourists and theatre-lovers alike have begun to catch viewings of “Mean Girls” or “Frozen” rather than original musicals such as “Dear Evan Hansen” or “Come From Away.”

Photograph via @playbill on Twitter “Frozen” the musical opened on Broadway on February 22, 2018.

More tickets are being bought for movies-turned-musicals, meaning more money to these shows and less to the original content on Broadway.

These original shows, shows that had heart and soul pumped into them for years, are only being given mere months on the stage.

Instead, more people spend their money on musicals with (for the most part) basic scores, a bland and straightforward script and weird set and costume designs.

Original creators pour heart and soul into creating ideas from scratch; all the way down from plot, to scenic design, to costumes, to songs.

Meanwhile, creators for movie musicals simply have to watch a film, recreate some costumes and sets and throw some music that will fit in.

The main problem isn’t the fact that these shows are coming onto Broadway; it is their purpose for coming onto Broadway.

Most movie-musicals transfer to Broadway simply for economic growth, for more exposure to creators such as Tina Fey and for another opportunity for popular screen actors to make their debut on the stage.

What does the public do? Exactly as expected.

The public goes to the show based off the movie they watched and loved rather than taking a shot at seeing an original Broadway show.

It is also financially safe for buyers in the Broadway world; they know shows based off of popular musicals will do well, so they invest in those rather than new shows they have no clue about.

While Broadway becomes more infested with movie-musicals, original content made for the stage will be sent right off to publishing businesses for high schools and community theatres to perform.

One of the reasons why Broadway shows are so great is because they are created for the stage; they are meant to be performed live every night.

Photograph via @playbill on Twitter “Come From Away,” an original musical, opened on Broadway on March 12, 2017.

When a movie is transferred to Broadway, it ends up flat, vacant of that excitement that comes with a natural Broadway show.

To be able to sit in a theater and watch as ideas created and written for the show play out in front of you is one of the most amazing and indescribable feelings a human can experience.

There is no other feeling like being in a Broadway theatre experiencing true, raw, live theatre, and that can only be experienced in an original show.

Perhaps, when the public realizes the importance of celebrating original content and not rebooted movie-musicals, Broadway will return to its innovative self.