The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Refresh your memory of the hilarious Australian film which came before the musical. It's an iconic comedy drama starring a very young Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp.
Howards End (1992)
The 1992 film, based on the novel by EM Forster, has a roster of fabulous theatre actors – Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson to name a few – but the talent is not the only reason why this flick makes this list. The Young Vic's recent hit production of The Inheritance was inspired by Howards End and here's a chance to compare the two. (Note: they are definitely very different.)
The Lady in the Van (2015)
An amazing theatre pedigree is behind this film, which is based on Alan Bennett's play. Bennett adapted the screenplay, erstwhile National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner directed and Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Frances de la Tour and Roger Allam starred. It's a comedy based in truth, about a lady who actually did live in a car at the end of Bennett's garden for a while.
Some may say this is a slightly tenuous link, but we don't care. Aidan Turner is about to appear in Martin Mcdonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore in the West End and what better excuse to revisit (or discover) the Cornish based TV series than that?
SpongeBob SquarePants (1999)
How on earth anyone originally came up with the idea to turn this wacky Nickelodeon kids TV series about a sponge that lives under the sea into a musical is anyone's guess. But they did and it's currently playing to great success on Broadway, having hoovered up a remarkable number of Tony nominations. Watch the original so that if, and we do say if, it comes to London, you're ready. On Netflix you can either watch season one, or the movie.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Who could resist the chance to watch Tom Stoppard's 1998 hommage to the Bard? Joseph Fiennes is dashing as Shakespeare himself, while Gwyneth Paltrow plays his magnetic love interest Viola. There are some wonderful actors in the cast, along with some great bawdy scenes about theatre in Elizabethan England and a classic turn by Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I. As ever with Stoppard, it's exceptionally clever while also being a tremendously affecting love story.
Playing to packed out audiences in the West End is the RSC, Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's hit musical version of Roald Dahl's novel. It's an absolute scream and while we don't think the film is anywhere near as great as the stage version, it's still pretty fun, featuring a great comic performance from Danny DeVito.
Upstart Crow (2016)
The Bard features in this recent TV series very heavily, as it follows his antics trying to make his way as a playwright and travelling between London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Ben Elton - whose other TV credits include Blackadder and The Young Ones and also penned We Will Rock You - wrote the script while David Mitchell plays Shakespeare. It's full of exceptionally silly ideas about what may have been going on while he was writing plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.
This 2005 adaptation of the musical about bohemian New Yorkers facing love, addiction and AIDS in the '90s features a cast including Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal. In fact, six of the original Broadway cast members reprised their roles for this, so what a chance to see them strut their stuff again.
"The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow", sings the flame-haired Annie in this classic musical by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan. This is the 1982 film of the stage show and has become one of the most iconic musicals in the canon. Featuring some stage and screen idols such as Tim Curry, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett and Bernadette Peters, it's a joy from start to finish. The original and the 2014 remake is available for your viewing pleasure on Netflix.
La La Land (2016)
One of the most recent Hollywood forays into musicals is this, directed and written by Damien Chazelle. It's a love-letter to the golden age of Hollywood and focuses on two young people trying to get by in a mad, bad world. And, let's not forget, a brilliant Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play the young lovers and they dance (!) and sing (!) too! How lovely.
Carrie (2002 and 2013)
If you were one of the lucky few who got to see the revival of Carrie: The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse then no doubt you are having withdrawal symptoms. Relive the prom from hell with two of the latter adaptations of Stephen King's novel.
Unfortunately not the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, but the lesser known 2011 remake featuring Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid.
La Cage aux Folles (Birdcage) (1978)
In 2008, a scaled-down production, starring Philip Quast and Douglas Hodge opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory. This transferred to the West End and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. The production also saw Graham Norton and John Barrowman play Albin before it closed in 2010. Netflix's film offering is not the brilliant French original, but the 1996 version starring Robin Williams.
Les Misérables (2012)
The first big-budget production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel starred Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Samantha Barks as Eponine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Anne Hathaway as Fantine, a role for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
- Judi Dench
- Idina Menzel
- Alan Bennett
- Anthony Hopkins
- Joseph Fiennes
- Alex Jennings
- Bernadette Peters
- The Lady in the Van
- director Nicholas Hytner
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