There’s just no solace like snuggling up with a good book and getting lost in the story, forgetting the outside world while being immersed in the world within its pages. In this way, reading is like theatre: live shows also allow you to escape from everyday life for a while. Being in a theater can transport you to a completely different place or time through sets, costumes and actors. So it’s the perfect storm when the two come together – when a book you’ve read is adapted into a Broadway or Off-Broadway show, and the world the author constructed (and you, too, imagined in your head during reading) gets made and performed for real, right before your very eyes.
Books have long been the inspiration for plays and musicals, and this theater season is no exception – books are the source material for many famous Broadway shows you can watch now. Classic novels and new bestsellers are brought to life on New York’s stages. See if your favorite book is coming to Broadway this season – or find your next great book after seeing these stories on stage!
between the lines
This 2012 book by international bestselling author Jodi Picoult was her first young adult novel and also marked her first writing collaboration with her daughter, Samantha van Leer. The two teamed up to create between the lines, a story about a teenager named Delilah, who is an outcast both at home and at her new school in a new town. She finds solace in her favorite fairy tale book (aka between the lines), but neither her mother nor her classmates understand her attachment to it, which makes her even more distant from them. Delilah’s life takes a turn when the prince of the book comes to life and talks to her, but now she faces a new challenge: separating reality and fiction. This award-winning fantastic story was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Bestseller, and now, a between the lines musical has its world premiere with Second Stage Theater.
Come back for information about between the lines tickets on New York Theater Guide.
Ever wondered what comedian Sarah Silverman looked like as a child? The title of her Off-Broadway show hints at it, as does her memoir of the same name. Released in 2010, Silverman’s Autobiography The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Wetting features stories about her childhood, including how her parents encouraged her to develop her satirical, uncensored kind of comedy from a young age. As the book progresses, readers essentially see Silverman growing up, discovering her comedic influences, and creating a public character that reflects her real self. In 2020, Silverman teamed up with playwright Joshua Harmon and the late composer/lyricist Adam Schlesinger to turn her memoir into a brand new musical, now premiering April 2022 with Atlantic Theater Company.
Come back for information about the bedwetter tickets on New York Theater Guide.
Black no more
George S. Schuyler’s Harlem Renaissance-era novel has received musical treatment 90 years after its release. The full title is Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, AD 1933-1940 (abbreviated to Black no more for the musical) and is considered one of the earliest works of Afrofuturism, a genre exploring the effects of technology on black life. Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter has written all-new music for the story of Max Disher (Brandon Victor Dixon), a black man who hears of a new machine that makes black people white. The creator, Dr. Junius Crookman (Trotter), says his machine will “solve America’s race problem”, but Max learns after using the machine that the racist people in his town will always look for somewhere to direct their hatred, even if it means undermining people that resemble them.
To get Black no more tickets now.
Hamilton, is, of course, based on real American history, as experienced by former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and fictionalized by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But Miranda was inspired to write the musical after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of the Founding Father, titled simply: Alexander Hamilton. He even asked Chernow to become a historical advisor for Hamilton, and Chernow helped the writing process for six years. So now that his hip-hop treatment of Hamilton’s life and career has won 11 Tony Awards, Miranda Chernow and Alexander Hamilton have to thank! The Hamilton book, published in 2004, was a success in itself, even before the Hamilton musical made it famous: Chernow won the first-ever George Washington Book Prize and was nominated for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in biography for his work.
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The kite Runner
It took a year after the publication of Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 novel The kite Runner to rise to the top of bestseller lists, but when it finally became a New York Times bestseller in 2005, it fell off that list for two years. While the book has met with some controversy for its portrayal of war-torn Afghanistan, that didn’t stop it from winning the South African Boeke Prize in 2004 and being voted Reading Group Book of the Year in 2006 and 2007. The story follows young Amir, who as a child fails to prevent a horrific act against his best friend Hassan, ending their friendship. Twenty years later, living in America, Amir hears an opportunity to make amends with Hassan, which means returning to his homeland, now under Taliban rule. The kite Runner was first adapted into a play in 2007, and after being produced across North America and Europe, the show will make its Broadway debut in July 2022.
Come back for information about The kite Runner tickets on New York Theater Guide.
The little Prince
Since its publication in 1943, the classic children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The little Prince, has become one of the best-selling and most translated books in history, with approximately 140 million copies sold worldwide in 301 languages. That’s a fitting fate for a novel that itself describes a widespread adventure, though the titular prince travels even beyond Earth and throughout the galaxy. The book is set in the Sahara, where the little prince encounters a pilot who makes an emergency landing. Over the course of eight days, he tells the pilot all about his travels, which taught him about human nature, loneliness, friendship, and the value of holding onto a childish quirkiness. Like the book, the stage adaptation of The little Prince – bringing the Prince’s journeys to life with acrobatics, dance and video – has reached countries around the world and is now landing at the Broadway Theater in March.
Come back for information about The little Prince tickets on New York Theater Guide.
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera The musical is famous in its own right, has been staged around the world and is the longest-running Broadway show ever. But did you know that the show is based on a novel? The Phantom of the Opera was first published in 1910 by French author Gaston Leroux, who based his novel on an actual fire in the Paris Opera House combined with rumors of ghosts haunting the building. The ghost became the titular Phantom, a living but disfigured person with supernatural powers who lives in the opera house. He coaches a rising opera star, Christine Daaé, so well that she becomes the opera’s star singer, but the Phantom becomes possessive of her when she falls in love with her childhood friend Raoul. Between the two, Christine must figure out how to escape the Phantom with her life without destroying the opera house. The book was fairly successful in its day, but as Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted… The Phantom of the Opera made a musical in 1986, Leroux’s work became firmly established in literary and theatrical history.
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Kill a mockingbird
It is one of the most famous books in American literary history. It is a staple of high school, high school, and college curricula. It’s a story of childhood racism and the loss of innocence that remains remarkably timeless more than 60 years after its publication. And now it’s on stage: Kill a mockingbird. Harper Lee’s novel became an instant classic when she published it—her only published novel until just before her death in 2016—in 1960. Set in 1930s Alabama, Kill a mockingbird is told by six-year-old Scout Finch, whose father Atticus is a lawyer defending an innocent black man, Tom Robinson, in a rape case. She witnesses her neighbors pour racial hatred on Tom and briefly vitriol on Atticus, who deep down tries to maintain that they are good people. Scout thinks back to childhood memories to try to understand her father’s point of view and all the hatred she sees. Aaron Sorkin, who edited Lee’s story for Broadway, keeps Scout as the narrator and puts the process at the center of the story, and his production has been met with constant acclaim since it opened in 2018. Kill a mockingbird is currently on hiatus and will reopen on Broadway June 1.
Come back for information about Kill a mockingbird tickets on New York Theater Guide.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West has so many gripping plot twists that you could read the book in a short day. But if you’ve seen BadYou know that, because Frank Maguire’s book forms the basis for the blockbuster musical. Maguire took considerable liberties from L. Frank Baum’s classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to tell a story surrounding Elphaba, the green, magical outcast who embarked on a quest to expose the Wizard as a con man and was eventually dubbed the Wicked Witch of the West. Maguire’s story is clearly more mature than Baum’s family-friendly book, adding violence, sex, and profanity. The Bad musical struck a balance between the two, preserving its elemental, sharp plot and complex exploration of good and evil, while incorporating enough adult content to keep the musical appropriate for a young audience. That balance turned out to be just right, as the musical quickly gained popularity upon its 2003 premiere and continues to defy gravity at the Gershwin Theater today.
To get Bad tickets now.