From Screen to Stage

With the celebration of World Book Day last week, we thought we’d look at a different medium moving from page to stage, to screen to… erm… STREEEN? Or screen, screen will do, so here are a few of our favourite shows that originated from film.


La Strada (1954)

Kicking off with probably one of the more obscure titles on this list, Federico Fellini’s Italian masterpiece won the Oscar for best film in a foreign language and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, it was even nominated for the BAFTA, Best Film from any Source in 1956.

La Strada (meaning ‘the road’ in Italian) would be a challenge for anyone to stage as Fellini’s epic which follows the young and wide eyed Gelsomino who is sold when her mother can’t afford to keep her, to the ‘Amazing’ Zampano, a travelling strongman who travels throughout the Italian countryside in search of work, but finds mainly woman and liquor…

Olivier nominated director of the stage adaptation Sally Cookson (Jayne Eyre at the National Theatre, Hetty Feather West End) tackles the complex emotional story of the road with a strong imagination. Creating a visual feast for the eye and; with the multi-talented ensemble cast armed with guitar, drum, tambourines and even accordion; it’s a delight to the ear. Adding a fantastic musical element composed by fellow Olivier nominee Benji Bower (Hetty Feather, Cinderella A Fairy Tale).

Sally Cookson describes her attempt of adapting her favourite film to stage as “a response to the film… using it as inspiration” to show that this is her own vision of La Strada.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots (2005)

Who knew that the story of a failing shoe workshop in Northamptonshire could create such a fantastic film, or an even better musical?

In 2005 a future Oscar nominated actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, Doctor Strange, Serenity) would don some sexy red leather boots to play Lola (she is a showgirl) who helps Charlie (Joel Edgerton) to look at the world from a different perspective. After inheriting his father’s failing shoe maker business Charlie is inspired by Lola to change his product, much to the shock of his staff which include amazing actors such as Nick Frost (Cornetto Trilogy- Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead, The World’s End) and Linda Bassett (Calendar Girls, East is East). The film is based on true events of a Northamptonshire factory who changed their angle and catered to the male market for fetish footwear under the "Divine" brand.

The 2016 Olivier Award winner for Best New Musical continues with the message of being comfortable no matter who you are but adding a bit more razzmatazz and a whole load more drag queens for the stage production and songs from the award-winning Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time). Penning such brilliant songs as ‘Sex Is In The Heel’ and the amazingly catchy ‘Just be’. Recently the Broadway cast have posted an alternative version of ‘Just Be’ to YouTube entitled ‘Just Pee’ again pushing the boundaries of Gender Stereotypes.

School Of Rock-20-10-16-New London-2514_RT

School Of Rock (2003)

Jack Black was no stranger to the film industry before 2003, he had already been a hit as part of the comedy duo Tenacious D and had appeared in several small roles over the years including credits in Mars Attacks, The Cable Guy, Never Ending Story 3 (the never endyest of the franchise) and most notably playing the title character in Shallow Hal one year prior. One of his first major break-through roles came when he got to rock out as Dewey Finn in School Of Rock. Playing a failing rock ‘star’ who impersonates his roommate to try and earn some extra money as a substitute teacher, little did he know that this was to be his big break.

With an entertaining premise, a talented bunch of young actors and perhaps most importantly of all a kick ass sound track, it was no surprise that just over a decade later in December of 2014 it was announced that Andrew Lloyd Webber, creator of such musical phenomenon’s as Phantom of the Opera and Cats was to bring the film to the stage. Strangely Lloyd Webber is credited in the 2003 film School of Rock as a composer due to the involvement of the song Memories from Cats sang in the film by Summer.

School of Rock the musical has gone down a treat at the recent Olivier Award nominations picking up a radical 3 nominations including Outstanding Achievement in Music, MasterCard’s Best New Musical and David Fynn who fills the shoes of lead character Dewey Finn was nominated for Best Actor in a musical. It looks like Andrew Lloyd Webber has struck gold once again...

Young Frankenstein (1974)

We cheated a little with this one, Mel Brooks' classic comedy takes inspiration from Mary Shelley’s legendary Gothic novel Frankenstein. However it was Brooks who took the horror novel combined with the campy hammer horror (that arguably made Frankenstein’s monster more famous on the screen than page) creating something completely separate from the original story it draws from.

Brooks reunites the powerhouse creative duo behind the multiple award-winning musical, The Producers by once again teaming up with Susan Stroman. This eagerly anticipated creature musical will hit the West End just in time for Halloween and will be brought to life at the Garrick Theatre.


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