Top Ten Tuesday (131): Musicals Based on Books

TTT starsTop Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week was a freebie so I chose the category of musicals based on books!

  1. Les Mis: My favorite musical of all time for its dramatic story and score.  Based on the novel by Victor Hugo.
  2. The Phantom of the Opera: Honestly, I think Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is better than Gaston Leroux’s book.
  3. Hamilton: Inspired by Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton.
  4. A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens’s novel did get the musical treatment, though I often find people surprised to learn this.
  5. Tarzan: The music is so catchy. I want to sing all the songs!
  6. The Scarlet Pimpernel: I like Baroness Orczy’s novel a little better, but I still appreciate the music.
  7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame: I read somewhere Disney was going to make this into a Broadway show?  Their movie version is so incredibly dramatic (though less so than Hugo’s book, I suppose) and I wish they had.  “God Help the Outcasts” is one of my favorite Disney songs and a complete surprise coming from them.
  8. The Sound of Music: Maybe it’s not quite like the story Maria Von Trapp wrote, but it’s still moving and full of excellent music.
  9. Notre Dame de Paris: It’s in French and I don’t understand the words, but I still love it.
  10. A Very Potter Musical: Fan creativity never ceases to astound me.
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39 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday (131): Musicals Based on Books

  1. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    Les Miserables is my favorite musical of all time. ❤️ The story is so gut wrenching and raw. I absolutely adore it. It’s the only musical that has ever really hit me hard. When the movie came out a few years ago, I watched it non-stop for months like a total fan girl, and I listen to the soundtrack to the musical all the time. I Dreamed A Dream is one of my favorite songs. And of course, the book is excellent. The Phantom of the Opera is another musical I love. All of these are great choices.

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    • Krysta says:

      Les Mis is definitely my favorite though I’ve never seen a production aside from the concert versions and the movie (which still disappoints me–can’t they have gotten some more decent singers?!). I also have not read the book yet. It’s so long. When will I have the time? It’s a dilemma.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

        I guess they were trying to capitalize on big names to sell movie tickets. I would’ve watched it even if the people were nobody’s just because I love the story. I’ve read some of it, but it’s such a monster undertaking. I think it’s about 1200 pages or so, which is insane. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it.

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        • Krysta says:

          Every time someone suggests that to me all I can do is aggrievedly ask if there aren’t big names who can also sing. Was the movie not going to sell without Russell Crowe? On the other hand, I am self-conscious about my awful singing and one of my friends suggested to me that I might as well sing along with her and the movie since I couldn’t sound any worse than Javert. It was truly inspirational. ;b

          When you do, you’ll have to tell us. We’ll all throw a party and then you can fill us in on all the details so we don’t have to read it but can pretend that we have. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

            I thought Russell Crowe was a really strange choice. I had no idea he even did theater until I looked it up online. My voice cracks when I sing because of my allergies. It’s a disaster. But I have to at least try to sing I Dreamed A Dream. I just love that song so much I don’t care if dogs start barking at me, begging me to stop. 😉 I agree with your friend. Might as well sing along. Haha! I might need a week long nap to recuperate from reading Les Mis. I haven’t met a single person who has read the book in its entirety. I do love the writing style. I just think it’s too much information all at one time. I’m so down for that. A Les Mis party with really annoying singing. 😂 We can have a sing-off. Lol.

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  2. luvtoread says:

    Les Mis and Phantom are both wonderful choices! I can listen to those soundtracks over and over again. There was a musical made of A Tale of Two Cities?? Interesting!

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    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, it didn’t last long on Broadway unfortunately, but I think the soundtrack is very good (reminds me a little of Les Mis at times, though). PBS also filmed a concert version at one point so that’s probably available to buy online. The really interesting thing to me was that they had to get rid of the Carton/Darnay look-alike situation. There were some other changes, too, but I still enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. barefootmegz says:

    I looooove The Phantom of the Opera! But I haven’t read the book. I’m not even sure if I want to?
    I have never seen Les Mis as the musical, but in high school we sang the score in choir and it was lovely. Also haven’t read the book, but I read a comic adaptation. 😛
    And The Sound of Music… love love love. Can’t get enough of it, really.
    I don’t think I’ve actually ever read the book AND seen the musical for a musical/book adaptation. What a great list! ❤

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    • Krysta says:

      The Phantom of the Opera book is nothing like the musical. It’s more of a mystery than a romance–actually, it’s made quite clear the Phantom is abusive and bad and not at all romantic–and it’s composed of different voices and materials coming together. Interesting, but I sometimes wonder how the musical came from it. ;b

      I haven’t seen many of these musicals (a few I’ve seen as high school or college productions), but I’ve heard the soundtracks and PBS sometimes does concert versions, which is how I’ve heard Les Mis.

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  4. Diana says:

    Tarzan is one of my favourites though I am yet to read the book. I didn’t know that there were musicals for the rest of the books on your list.

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  5. alilovesbooks says:

    Great idea for a top ten. I always forget a lot of musicals are based on books. Personally I’d probably go for the whole Disney film archive as I love them all. Shameful confession, I don’t really like Les Mis.

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  6. Ellen @ Quest Reviews says:

    I remember my friend was OBSESSED with Very Potter Musical in college. And I LOVED the actress who portrayed Draco Malfoy. Still makes me laugh.

    The Phantom of the Opera (Book) is so incredibly boring. Guh. I could not get through it.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel — I had no clue that it was turned into a musical!

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    • Krysta says:

      I know people who watched it all the time! I liked it, but not that much, I’m afraid!

      The book is very different from the musical. Definitely not as compelling, though I think it’s fascinating how they changed the Phantom to make him seductive rather than just plain creepy.

      It’s a bit different from the book, but it has some great music! For some reason I really enjoy “The Creation of Man” which involves Percy & Co. explaining why men should get to dress fancy, but I think more dramatic pieces like “Falcon in the Dive” and “Into the Fire” are the ones generally recommended.

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  7. kimmiegg says:

    Le Mis was truly a phenomenal production, and I love all the songs. They bring me to tears whenever I listen! All your other choices are spot on as well 🙂

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  8. Lost In A Good Book says:

    Wow great list. You must be a Theater nerd! 😀 I haven’t heard anyone mention Scarlet Pimpernel since my old musical theater days! I am in love with Hamilton right now, but then who isn’t? 😉

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    • Krysta says:

      I think I’m more of a Scarlet Pimpernel fan than a theatre nerd. 😉 But I am glad you’ve heard of the musical, too! And Hamilton is so good I can’t even describe how good it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    I saw Les Mis on Broadway when it hadn’t been running all that long, and it was stunning! I have not seen the movie – seems like maybe I should skip it. They should definitely have used fantastic singers, otherwise what is the point?

    Other favorite musicals based on books include Guys and Dolls (from Damon Runyon’s stories) and Oliver! based on Oliver Twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Anne Hathaway was pretty good and Samantha Barks as Eponine was phenomenal. Some of the others were all right, but I thought Seyfried sounded weak as Cosette and I didn’t like Hugh Jackman too much though I can’t say anything’s necessarily wrong with him. Maybe I’m just used to Wilkinson. It’s hard to match up. But then you just can’t ignore that Russell Crowe as Javert can’t sing. I can’t figure out why he’s in the movie at all.

      I haven’t seen or heard either of those, actually. Maybe it’s time to change that!

      Liked by 1 person

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