7 Musicals Based on Novels ...


The idea for musicals has to come from somewhere, and it's not really surprising that books offer a vast store of inspiration.

Even so, you'd probably be surprised to learn that some of the best-known musicals are based on books.

So if you've never thought about where the idea for a musical came from, you might enjoy reading the books that inspired them …

1. Cabaret

Cabaret is one of the best-known and most enduring musicals, frequently performed on stage and of course there is the marvelous movie version.

But most people haven't read Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, which provided the source material for the musical.2

Cabaret is not a direct adaptation, but you'll recognise the characters, especially Sally Bowles.


2. Matilda

If you loved the books of Roald Dahl as a child, you should check out the musical version of his beloved work Matilda.

It was one of his last books, and tells the story of Matilda's battle against the fearsome headmistress Miss Turnbull.

And if you've seen the musical but not yet read the book, it's never too late to pick up a copy.


3. Wicked

Writers often use work by other writers as inspiration;

they might tell the story of a minor character in more detail (Wide Sargasso Sea gives Mr Rochester's mad wife a back story).2

Wicked is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West before she became wicked.

The book is called Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Macguire.


4. Oliver!

Even people who don't much care for musicals can probably hum a few songs from Oliver!

Everyone's seen the movie version, but it's also worth catching a live show if you get the chance.

If you find Dickens too depressing, you're bound to think that the musical is a big improvement, with lively songs such as the title song and 'Consider Yourself'.


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