Rent Live: Other musicals which should get a TV outing
31 October 2018
The cast has been announced for Rent Live, the next musical in line for live TV broadcast by Fox. Vanessa Hudgens will star as Mimi after her turn in as Rizzo in Grease Live nearly two years ago. Fox and NBC have been bringing the live musical to television for some time now, and it looks as though the format is here to stay. Here are some other musicals which deserve the television treatment:
2019 marks 10 years since the death of actor Patrick Swayze who starred in the original Dirty Dancing film which premiered in 1987. Even though ABC premiered a TV adaptation of Dirty Dancing in 2017, it received mainly negative reviews and wasn't "live" in the way that other TV musicals have been. For this reason, it deserves the real live musical treatment. The film was a huge hit, and the theme song (I've had) The Time of My Life won a host of awards including an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. It has inspired couples to use the song as a 'first dance' track at weddings and has even inspired a slot game on Paddy Power which includes music from the film. Dirty Dancing has stood the test of time and is due a real outing as a live television musical.
Wicked tells the story of the years before the Wicked Witch of the West was crushed by Dorothy's house in The Wizard of Oz. It has played on Broadway for fifteen years and the original cast included Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth who have become superstars in the world of entertainment since their casting in Wicked. Whilst a movie adaptation has been rumoured, it is surely time that Wicked got the 'live' treatment, especially since much of the soundtrack appeared in Glee. Incidentally, Glee cast member Lea Michelle has been rumoured to be a part of the rumoured film. With lots of rumours (could we say rumour any more?), it is probably about time that the musical got an outing on screen.
Matilda took the UK by storm when it first opened at the RSC in 2010. It has since found a home in the West End and took to Broadway in 2013. Based on the book by Roald Dahl rather than the 1998 film by Danny DeVito, Matilda's book was written by British playwright Dennis Kelly and the beautiful yet comical music was composed by comedian Tim Minchin. Matilda has garnered positive criticism for tackling tough subjects such as child neglect whilst remaining accessible for children and adults and providing a lot of laughs. What's more, there would be something deliciously meta-theatrical about a musical which criticises our television consumption being produced for a TV audience.
Television musicals provide a chance for an audience who wouldn't ordinarily visit the theatre to see a musical from the comfort of their own home. It can also revive old productions and give them a new lease of life by casting celebrities. It hasn't always hit the mark, however, but Vanessa Hudgens has proved that she has the musical chops and will be able to knock the socks off her role as Mimi in Rent.