One example of a musical film that has successfully transferred to the stage is Summer Holiday, which starred Cliff Richard. It may be hard to imagine how a film of a double-decker bus travelling through Europe can be shown on the stage, but it can work with a bit of imagination from the director and the crowd themselves.
Pop music has not had a long history in the theater but now the plays being produced are as likely to be centered on modern groups and not just the stars of the past. Love Me Tender and the Buddy Holly Story show alongside more recent musicals such as Grease, which covers the music of the same era but started life as a film.
Children's films are also moving to the stage and there has been a great deal of effort put in to make the stage appear to represent the plains of Africa for The Lion King. Beauty and the Beast may have been one of the earliest films to transfer from celluloid to the boards but its production was nowhere near as adventurous as putting on The Lion King. This is certainly a good way to get young people to see a night at the theater as a good night out rather than just something for their parents.
Another interesting example of the modern musical genre is Rent which has been adapted from 'La Boheme' but with a contemporary twist. The artists of 100 years ago played characters suffering from tuberculosis whereas the modern-day characters have AIDS or HIV. There will be audiences here that would not consider going to La Boheme will associate with rent.
There is a long tradition of musical films being moved to the stage and vice versa but now films that were not musicals are being adapted. Sister Act had songs already in place, but when the decision was made to make Legally Blond a musical, the songs had to be written or chosen especially. Despite being called The Wedding Singer there were songs that you would associate with being a musical number but the play features titles such as Let me Come Home and Today you are a Man.
Some stage musicals have taken music from a particular artist although the storyline has no link. Mamma Mia tells the story of a single mother being reunited with the possible fathers of her daughter based around the music of ABBA, while We Will Rock You is not even based on the same planet as Queen. Both of these make full use of classic songs but giving them their own meaning with a new story.
The modern musical seems to be thriving and producers will be encouraged by the reaction to their productions. There does not seem to be a limit to the films that can make it onto the stage and the advent of reality TV shows to choose leading men and ladies for the next big production has proved hugely popular for the audience and wannabe stars alike. Having the public vote for the singer to play Maria in the Sound of Music will be an encouragement for them to go to see it.