As I continue to follow Turner Classic Movies in their celebration of the Tony Awards through a month spotlighting films based on stage plays or musicals, I will continue with a list of any of this year’s Tony nominees that are either based on a film or on source material that has been made into a film that I have seen. All of these productions happen to be musical versions of other works (plus two plays based on novels with subsequent film versions that I haven’t seen).
First off, congratulations to Hamilton, with 11 awards. It set the record for the most nominations in Tony history with 16 and is an unquestionable cultural phenomenon. Because it is original material, though, it cannot be considered for this list. Along with each movie related to a nominated production, I will give a grade for the movie, a link to the trailer, and a clip from the current Broadway production. I am not able to see Broadway productions, so I can not review the shows that were honored on Sunday. I am only working with the movies here that came before the shows.
The Color Purple (1985; Steven Spielberg) A+
This remarkable tale of redemption, faith, and overcoming oppression and abuse is based on the beloved Alice Walker novel of the same title. The 2005 Broadway musical was based on the same novel, and the 2015 revival won two Tonys on Sunday night: Best Revival of a Musical and Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Cynthia Ervio). The show was also nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Danielle Brooks), and Best Director of a Musical (John Doyle). Expect a review of the 1985 masterpiece from me next week.
School of Rock (2003; Richard Linklater) B+
Linklater’s School of Rock is the charming story of an irresponsible rocker (Jack Black) who will go to any length to get a gig. Trying to pass himself off as a substitute teacher in a prestigious private elementary school, he creates a band out of his students. Through the students, he learns that he’s not as good of a musician as he thinks he is and matures into someone who is able to teach the kids about the power of music.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on this movie was nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Julian Fellows), Beset Score (music by Webber; lyrics by Glenn Slater), and Best Lead Actor in a Musical (Adam Brightman), but it didn’t win any awards on Sunday night.
The Shop around the Corner (1940) D
Ernst Lubitsch’s romantic comedy is considered a classic to many, but the two leads are not convincing when they hate each other or when they love each other. They are competitors in business with secret pen pals. Neither knows that their pen pal is also their adversary. The film was based on Miklós László’s play Parfumerie/Illatszertár. The same play was the basis for the far superior 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail and the 1963 Broadway musical She Loves Me. The 2016 revival of She Loves Me won a Tony on Sunday night for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (David Rockwell). It was also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Lead Actor in a Musical (Zachary Levi), Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Laura Benanti), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Jane Krakowski), Best Director of a Musical (Scott Ellis), Best Orchestration (Larry Hochman), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Jeff Mahshie).
Waitress (2007; Adrienne Shelly) B
Here is another charmer that became a Broadway musical last season. Keri Russell makes inventive pies with hilarious names as a way to try to emotionally escape the reality of an abusive marriage and unplanned pregnancy. An unexpected relationship with her doctor helps her to do that as well, and a customer gives her constant encouragement that she can have a new start in life.
Pop star Sarah Bareilles wrote the music for the new Broadway musical. It was nominated for Best Musical, Best Score (Sarah Bareilles), Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Jessie Mueller), and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christopher Fitzgerald), but it won no awards on Sunday night.
The Tony Awards also gave a single nomination each to musical versions of American Psycho (2000) and Tuck Everlasting (2002), but I have not seen either of these movies, so I could not include them here. Likewise, the nominated plays Misery and Thérèse Raquin are based on the respective Stephen King and Emile Zola novels that paved the way films I haven’t seen (Misery in 1990 and many film versions of Zola’s book including silent films in 1915 and 1928, a version starring Simone Signoret in 1953 and 2013’s In Secret starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange, and Oscar Isaac).