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Screen to Stage: What's Next?

By Lauren Ball 

The reviews are in for the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and it's a hit, it's a hit, it's a palpable hit! Following in the footsteps of Billy Elliot, The Bodyguard and Once, Jerry Mitchell and co have successfully transitioned a piece from the screen to the stage: no easy feat, but a winning formula if you can pull it off. So the big question now is, what's up next? We've got some ideas.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Mark this day, for Operation Get Bill Murray To The West End starts here. Wes Anderson's Moby Dick-esque tale of one man's quarrel with a Jaguar shark has a banging soundtrack, so there's the first step taken care of. Who wouldn't want to see a stage show featuring David Bowie songs sung in Portuguese, underwater scenes (I'll get on the blower to The Little Mermaid, they'll have some tips) and BILL MURRAY? Coz we do need him - it's Wes Anderson after all. It's the rules.


Buckle up, we're going meta. The Spike Jonze-directed 2002 film is a semi-autobiographical work following writer Charlie Kauffman's struggle to adapt Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief into a screenplay. What say we put a whole new layer in there and have him go through writer's block all over again trying to translate it for the stage? It's a bit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a bit [title of show], and I can't wait to see how he deals with that alligator.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Bored of panto? How about a Christmas show with a twist? Tim Burton's 1993 stop motion fantasy has a huge fanbase, and since it cleverly covers both Halloween and Christmas it could run from October till the end of the festive season. Hey shelf life! It's funny and charming, the songs are great, and it's packed with interesting visuals. Sam Mendes, fresh from his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory success, would be at the top of directorial shortlist for this one.

Searching For Sugar Man

Another stellar soundtrack that deserves a stage. Malik Bendjelloul's BAFTA-winning documentary concerns the life of American musician Rodriguez, his popularity in South Africa and the rumours around his death. The narrative, driven by two fans and their quest for the truth, would work well on stage and you'd only need a small cast and a bit of multi-rolling to cover their whole journey. Now listen to I Wonder and donate to the Kickstarter page, coming soon to a Facebook news feed near you.

Hocus Pocus

This idea has been kicking about for years and yet somehow, it hasn't come to pass. Come on theatre gods, just think of the amazing costumes! Hair, wigs, make-up! Not to mention all the fun you'd have with flying. And the I Put a Spell On You number. If Wicked has taught us anything it's that folks just love a musical about witches, so let's have another one.

Have we missed a classic? Let us know! {Tweetbutton #screentostage}