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Five Films that Became Popular West End Musicals

Friday, 4th Sep 2015

A Look at Some of the Popular West End shows that Originated on the Big Screen

The West End is full of hit shows but, as you might know, some of them had previous success on the big screen. Here’s a look at some of the best films that became hit musicals.

The Lion King
Why not start with one of the most famous films-turned-musicals in town? The Lion King first emerged as a film back in 1994 and featured the voice talents of James Earl Jones and Rowan Atkinson, amongst others, with fans worldwide. It was later in the same decade that the stage version emerged and it can still be seen at the Lyceum Theatre, where audiences can relish in the story of Simba the Lion Cub as he faces his Uncle Scar in The Pride Land.

Billy Elliot The Musical

One of the best known British films of the last two decades, Billy Elliot delighted audiences when it landed on the big screen in 2000, making a star of Jamie Bell and earning accolades worldwide. So it is no wonder that Billy Elliot The Musical has enjoyed ten successful years in the West End since it first opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005. Audiences can’t wait to pick up theatre tickets and see young Billy as he grows up in the North East of England in the 1980s and eventually finds his true passion in ballet.

Bend It Like Beckham
Another successful British film, Bend It Like Beckham made stars out of Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra and told the story of an Indian girl who discovers a passion for Phoenix Theatre in the summer of that year. A new addition to the West End, it proves that there’s still an appetite for big musicals with a familiar story.

Elf The Musical

This one is yet to open in the West End, with its start-date this October, but thanks to the 2003 film Elf, it already has legions of fans. Elf The Musical takes the Will Ferrell comedy and turns it into a Ben Forster musical as we follow Buddy as he realises that he is in fact a human and not an elf as he had been led to believe. He embarks on a journey to New York City to find his father and to make it in a new world.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Okay, we’re cheating a bit with this one as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’s origins are with the Roald Dahl book of the same name. However, prior to this show’s opening at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, it had been adapted to the screen twice, Once as the Gene Wilder film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory and again as the Johnny Depp vehicle Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Article filed under: Theatre News |