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It's usually the case that hit plays get turned into movies. But more and more nowadays, the opposite is happening, with films being translated for the stage. Some say it's a sign of intellectual bankruptcy in theatre. Hollywood has the same problem, but there are a lot more new successful movies in the last two decades than new successful plays. So the stealing ends up being one way.

These are usually musicals even when they weren't in the first place (see All Musicals Are Adaptations); Adaptation Decay usually occurs here. Movie musicals are also frequently adapted for the stage, and these tend to acquire additional songs in the stage version.

This trope can be taken one step further, by going from movie, to stage musical, to Recursive Adaptation movie-of-the-stage-musical.


Film musicals adapted for the stage:


Stage musicals based on non-musical films (original film in parenthesis if neccessary):


Non-musical stage adaptations of movies:

  • Clue: The Play
    • Sadly, there is to date no commercially available stage adaptation of the film. A few players have obtained special permission, and any other performance was and would be technically illegal. There is a musical stage version, but it has nothing to do with the film.
  • Night of the Living Dead: The public domain status, and relatively low budget the film had makes it an easy and convincing transfer onto stage.
  • The 39 Steps has been staged in a recent production with four actors.
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again (Adapted for amateur stagings in The Eighties)
  • Point Break Live! is a tongue-in-cheek retelling that uses an audience member to fill Keanu Reeves's role (dialogue is provided on cue cards).
  • 12 Angry Men: Technically, it was a play before it was a movie. However, it started as a teleplay on CBS' Studio One program.
    • Does it count as an adaptation if the two versions have almost exactly the same script? The movie has an extra, very short, intro scene and that's about it.

Stage musicals based on manga and/or anime (these tend to be series of musicals that follow successive story arcs):


Special Mention

  • Gyakuten Saiban −Yomigaeru Shinjitsu, based off the Ace Attorney video game series.

Stage adaptations from other sources:

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