This weekend saw Clint Eastwood’s stage-to-screen musical Jersey Boys struggle to strike a chord with moviegoers. But for every fourth-place finish, there’s a smash success like Les Misérables, Chicago, or Mamma Mia!—which all speak to the power of a musical adaptation done right.
Below, EW staffers name their top picks for adaptation—some of which have been announced and need to be expedited, others which are still but a glint in our theater-geek eyes.
Sure, the 2007 Best Musical Tony winner is a little racy: abortion, rape, child abuse, suicide… for starters. But Duncan Sheik’s rock opera, which broke out Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff, deserves to be seen by the masses—as long as producers don’t screw it up. But, if they do, at least they’ll be able to use Act II’s “Totally F—-d” as a point of reference. —Breia Brissey
Next to Normal
Family dramas are nothing new to film, and this Tony-winning musical was able to take on a controversial subject like bipolar disorder and already give it as much gravitas and detail that a film would. Only the eighth musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Next to Normal has already been praised by critics and fans. But more importantly, the six-person show is already intimate enough to make an easy transition to the screen. The biggest question is whether someone would be able to tackle the emotional and vocally taxing role of Diana without being too theatrical—so give the role to Toni Collette, who has already proved she can play mental illness well (United States of Tara) and was nominated for a Tony herself in the musical The Wild Party. —Jake Perlman
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Who doesn’t love a revisionist take on history? This rock musical, with a book by original director Alex Timbers, tells the story of the man who became the seventh president of the United States—from his life on the frontier all the way to the White House. Casting Mr. Jackson as an emo rock star, the show contains plenty of clever satire about the way American democracy and government function. Catchy tunes such as “I’m Not That Guy” and “The Corrupt Bargain” may not be as well-known as, say, “I Dreamed A Dream,” but that’s exactly why a big-screen version of the 2010 show needs to happen. —Erin Strecker
City of Angels
The 1990 Tony winner, with a great Cy Coleman score, has a Hollywood-ready premise: A writer tries to turn his mystery novel into a noirish screenplay. —Thom Geier
The idea of dedicating a portion of a studio’s budget to filming an X-rated puppet musical probably seems risky to Hollywood execs. But 10 years after Avenue Q took the Tony for Best New Musical (beating Wicked, which has also been languishing in development for years), audiences have shown again and again that they hunger for a wry combination of cheeky and adorable (see: Ted, The Muppets). They’ve also shown they love the musical stylings of composer Robert Lopez, and a Q musical would give Frozen devotees a chance to dig deeper into the EGOT winner’s equally addictive breakout work. —Lanford Beard
You know what’s great? Cats. You know what’s also awful? Cats. Yet despite all the emotions inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s weirdest non-Starlight Express project, the only filmed version of Broadway’s onetime longest-running show is a 1989 direct-to-video movie that’s basically Cats onstage plus closeups. A full-fledged film could be a campy mess or a surprisingly affecting meditation on aging and also living in a garbage dump or whatever; either way, it’s bound to be worth watching. —Hillary Busis