Top 5 Books I Wish Were Musicals


Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about musicals that have came from books. One thing that we are always interested in seeing is the transformation from book to film. For a theatre lover, the transformation gets even more interesting when it comes to musicals. The story would have to be slimmed down, characters taken out, certain moments chosen to be a song, and set and costumes need to be used to provide the gateway of imagination to the audience.

It's easy to see the books that work well as musicals if it already is one. But what about the books that haven't got to that point yet? Would a fantasy work, or would that be too difficult? I've had a think about all of these elements to come up with my list of books that would be fantastic musicals.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Miranda Priestley is the boss from hell. To make the situation worse, Andrea does not even have any interest in fashion, shes just working for the year to make her CV look good. I bet that sounds familiar to many people! In society today there is a growing pressure to be successful. Social media shows us all the ways we are missing out in life, all the things we don't have. If we are anything but perfect then we are not worth the time. The Devil Wears Prada shows that there is more to looking good in a world where that is all that matters.

So why a musical? The concept is very simple making it easy to transform to the stage. As we've already seen, it is also relatable to society today. There's a range of different characters, plus the opportunity to have stylish costumes would be endless! How would the stern Miranda Priestley be portrayed in song? That's something I'd love to know!

PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions From Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren

I am a sucker for concept musicals. A range of songs representing various people with different situations. Concept musicals are incredibly relatable, as is Frank Warren's book, PostSecret. PostSecret is a collection of artfully decorated postcards telling the sender's deepest secret. The secrets range of laugh out loud hilarious, to melancholy or scary. Last year, a girl on my course used this book as inspiration for her dissertation performance, displaying selected cards on a screen and then performing a musical number to represent that card. Like the book, it was emotional and sometimes hilarious! A concept musical based around this book is something I'd love to see. How fantastic would it be to have songs written about these one sentence statements!

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

We have seen a few fantasy musicals in the past. Wicked and Lord of the Rings are just two examples. Understandably, fantasy can be quite difficult to transform to stage. It often requires elaborate costumes and sets to represent the make believe. Whether Bridge to Terabithia was a musical or a play, it would be fascinating to see onstage. An unlikely friendship is formed between school kids Jess and Lesley, together they create Terabithia, a world in which their imagination has no limit. Again, there is a range of wonderful characters to be portrayed on stage. A big decision to make would be whether to show the creatures of Terabithia to the audience or have only Jess and Lesley see them. What would you choose?

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

After a tragic car accident Mia wakes up to see her own body in a coma and her parents gone from her world. Now she must make the biggest decision of her life. Does she carry on living, or move on to the after life? Forman's novel is incredibly thought-provoking, a characteristic that I also love in musicals. I am a massive fan of small cast musicals. We're talking about musicals such as Next to Normal. Sometimes you don't need elaborate sets. An emotional story, and fantastic writing is all you need. Like If I Stay, these musicals are thoughtful and make you question your own life as you leave the theatre.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Would The Princess Bride be a good musical? Honestly? I have no clue. Perhaps the fantasy elements or various locations wouldn't work on stage. However, the writing is so dramatic, it's a wonder that no one has turned it into a musical already! In fact, writers have been trying for a while now. I know, it must be a fantastic idea if professionals have thought of it too. The Princess Bride is a fantasy novel filled with a sarcastic almost princess, pirates, witty remarks and oddly polite sword fights. The one liners in the film and book are magnificent! Who wouldn't want this novel as a musical? I really hope they work it out soon, I can't wait!

Five doesn't feel like a big enough list out of all the incredible books out there. Many books have not been mentioned, of course there are many books that I haven't read yet that would be perfect for the stage. You will see an addition to this list made in the future. For now I'll focus on these books and start wishing for someone to make my bookish dreams come true. Do you have any specific books you wish would be a musical? Let's hope together!

You Might Also Like


  1. Oh my Goodness... I can see how If I Stay might work as a musical. The protagonist is a CELLIST and I can imagine some amazing music to come from this if it were ever to happen! :D And I would just be crying. The whole time. I have read that book like 3-4 times and I cried every time hahah! And The Princess Bride, honestly not sure about this one. But it would be funny! XD What a fun list! I can't really think of any at the top of my head.... :S

    Cass @ Words on Paper

  2. The Princess Bride is such an awesome choice. I would LOVE to see a theater production of that. Imagine the Buttercup/ Westley scenes... and Inigo Montoya. I need to see that!