'Jersey Boys' Continues Flow From Stage to Screen
Clint Eastwood is the latest director to adapt the Jersey Boys story.
Movie producers are again turning to Broadway for source material for blockbusters, thanks to the mega-success of film adaptations like Mamma Mia and Les Miserables. And now the Tony and Olivier-winning Jersey Boys has been adapted to the big screen by none other than Clint Eastwood, although he seems to have thought he was making a period mob drama rather than a movie musical.
Jersey Boys hits cinemas tonight
Musical films almost vanished completely for the 20 years between Grease (1978) and Evita (1997), although it can be argued that the format was kept alive by Disney animators with the likes of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, all of which have taken the reverse trip from screen to Broadway. Other films had songs added for stage versions and then returned to the big screen in musical form. See The Producers (1967 original, musical staged in 2001 and filmed in 2005) and Hairspray (1988 original, musical staged in 2002 and filmed in 2007). After 2012's Les Miserables movie, based on the still-running 1980 stage musical, it's no surprise that this Christmas' big movie musicals feel like time travel.
Annie opened on Broadway in 1977 (and was previously filmed in 1982), and the new movie stars Jamie Foxx, Quevenzhane Wallis and Cameron Diaz. And Into the Woods was first staged in 1987, while the film has an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt.
After this, it can't be long until we get a film of Miss Saigon, originally staged in the West End in 1989 and just revived there. Or a musical Billy Elliot, based on the non-musical 2000 hit film and turned into a West End musical by Elton John in 2005.