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Broadway to Big-Screen Classics

Art imitates art pretty frequently on stage and screen. It’s as if one business is the farm team for the other, with constant talent trades, back and forth – whether you’re talking actors, writers, directors or composers. Hollywood takes material from Broadway and turns it into a movie. Broadway lifts stories from film and re-imagines them for the theater. If it wasn’t such a fruitful relationship, one might call it a co-dependent one.

Then there are the books that are transformed for both media. And how about the plays or movies about famous people or show biz performers? We have to count those, too. Another subset of this cross-pollination between New York and L.A. is when plays or movies change their titles when they make the transition to the “other” medium. In the future, someone will inevitably write a script drawn from an entertaining text exchange.

As for me, I have my favorite classic productions. I bet you do, too:

Broadway Musicals-Turned-Movies (Or Vice Versa):

The Sound of Music


South Pacific

The King and I

On the Town

Guys and Dolls

West Side Story

Sunset Boulevard

Movies Based on Broadway Dramas:

A Streetcar Named Desire

The Petrified Forest

Anna Christie

Death of a Salesman

Stalag 17

Dead End

The Country Girl

Hit Stage Comedies That Became Movies:

Arsenic and Old Lace


Life With Father

You Can’t Take It With You

The Women


The Philadelphia Story

Plays/Movies About Famous People:

Funny Girl

Sunrise at Campobello

The Great Ziegfeld

The Jolson Story


Annie Get Your Gun

The Miracle Worker

Books/Movies/Plays With a Name Switch:

The Apartment = Promises, Promises

All About Eve = Applause

My Sister Eileen = Wonderful Town

Anna and the King of Siam = The King and I

Goodbye to Berlin = Cabaret

The Once and Future King = Camelot

Porgy = Porgy and Bess

Tales of the South Pacific = South Pacific

Tevye’s Daughters = Fiddler on the Roof

Oliver Twist = Oliver!

Books That Became Plays That Became Movies (Or Vice Versa):



To Kill a Mockingbird

Show Boat

Perhaps the most well-worn tale in this category: The Wizard of Oz book, which begat several stage iterations and silent movies, Judy Garland’s beloved film, the Broadway musical, The Wiz, and the Oz-inspired spin-off book that became the long-running smash, Wicked.

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