Argo: The Musical? What are we, nuts?! The truth is, plenty of Oscar-winning movies have successfully made the leap to the Broadway stage. For instance, All About Eve became Applause; The Apartment became Promises, Promises; Rebecca became…well, anyway, there have been plenty of other Oscar winners that have taken the stage as splashy Broadway musicals. With the 85th Academy Awards coming up on February 24, we decided to take a look at this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees and investigate how they’d fare as musicals on the Great White Way.
Dream Cast: Brandon Victor Dixon as Django, Danny Burstein as King Shultz, Norbert Leo Butz as Calvin Candie, Nikki M. James as Broomhilda, Ben Vereen as Stephen
Could It Work?: Historical epics have done well on stage in the past, but Django could make its own history for the sure-to-be copious amounts of onstage blood and decidedly un-PC dialogue. (Thanks for paving the way, Book of Mormon!) But hey, if John Doyle directs, the actors can play their own instruments and shoot their own rifles!
Musical Math: (Annie Get Your Gun - Annie) + Sweeney Todd
Big Number: “Chains: Ten, Hat: Three”
Dream Cast: Hugh Jackman as Lincoln, Alice Ripley as Mary Todd, Adam Chanler-Berat as Robert, Tom Wopat as Thaddeus Stevens
Could It Work?: With a score comprised entirely of monologues and a running time that’s four score and seven minutes too long, a Lincoln musical could be a rough show to sell... and stay awake for.
Musical Math: (1776 + The Civil War) x Assassins
Big Number: “La Vie ‘Braham”
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Dream Cast: Benjamin Walker as Pat, Sierra Boggess as Tiffany, Dan Lauria as Pat Sr., Jan Maxwell as Dolores
Could It Work?: This quirky rom-com about a troubled football fan and a depressed widow would make one hell of a crowd pleaser when you consider that the whole thing culminates in a giant dance sequence. It’s like they’re just begging for an 11 o’clock number!
Musical Math: Next to Normal + Lombardi ÷ Burn the Floor
Big Number: “Everyone’s A Little Bit Bipolar”
Dream Cast: Angela Lansbury as Anne, Christopher Plummer as Georges
Could It Work?: Of course! Two Broadway legends alone on stage together starring in one of modern cinema’s saddest, most depressing love stories? Better start polishing the Tonys now (and getting the tissues ready).
Musical Math: Passion + Wings - 70, Girls, 70
Big Number: “Grandma Look Sharp”
Dream Cast: Raul Esparza as Tony Mendez, Dick Latessa as Lester Siegel, Philip Seymour Hoffman as John Chambers, J. Robert Spencer as Jack O'Donnell
Could It Work?: The Oscars frontrunner about a fake Hollywood movie and a daring rescue mission would make for a thrilling theatrical romp. Just don’t expect Ben Affleck to get a Tony nom for directing it. (Too soon?)
Musical Math: The Producers + Milk and Honey
Big Number: “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Iran”
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Dream Cast: Norm Lewis as Link, Tyrah Skye Odoms as Hushpuppy
Could It Work?: The fantastical elements of this post-Katrina fable could make for one magical Mary Poppins-like musical…or one Tarzan-like nightmare.
Musical Math: The Secret Garden x Once on This Island + Jelly’s Last Jam
Big Number: “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Beasts”
LIFE OF PI
Dream Cast: Utkarsh Ambudkar as Pi
Could It Work?: An explosive shipwreck, flesh-eating plants, a vast ocean and at least five live animals are just a few of the utterly depressing reasons why you shouldn’t plan on this story coming to Broadway in the near future. Or ever.
Musical Math: Bombay Dreams - Titanic
Big Number: “Send in the Tigers”
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Dream Cast: Nina Arianda as Maya
Could It Work?: The world’s greatest manhunt probably wouldn’t make the most seamless of transfers to the stage. Something about a tap number torture scene doesn’t really sit well, either.
Musical Math: Kismet + Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope
Big Number: “I Know Where I’ve Bin”