How Broadway and Hollywood feed off each other


The transformation of "High School Musical" from a made-for-TV movie into a stage musical - opening Tuesday at the Orpheum Theatre - is business as usual in today's entertainment universe, where one medium often feeds on another in a perpetual food chain. Broadway would have to shutter many of its houses if it couldn't turn to the movies for a steady supply of material. Among the musicals currently playing or soon to open there, "A Catered Affair," "Cry-Baby," "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde," "Mary Poppins," "Spamalot," "The Lion King," "The Little Mermaid," "Xanadu" and "Young Frankenstein" all owe their existence to the films that preceded them.

The practice has been around for decades, albeit at relatively modest levels. "Sweet Charity" (1966) was based on Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria." "All About Eve" furnished forth Broadway's "Applause" (1970). "La Cage aux Folles" was a French film (based on an earlier French play) before it became a smash musical in 1983, which in turn helped spawn a non-musical film remake ("The Birdcage"). Working out the origins and offspring of a musical can sometimes require the skills of a genealogist.

What was once a Hollywood-to-Broadway trickle became a torrent as the millennium approached. Two distinct events marked the change.

(San Francisco Chronicle)

Film Business, Hollywood

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