Sometimes you go to a show, you’re sitting there in the audience and you wonder to yourself–who thought this would make a good musical?! We’ve all been there, right? I’m not going to mention any names right now, but I’m sure you can think of some. Then, you know, I got to thinking. There are a lot of musicals that are based on completely crazy ideas that became hits! So, with that in mind, just for fun, I bring you…
Some of The Most Ridiculous Ideas for a Musical That Became Hits
NOTE: There may be spoilers below!
1. Next to Normal
Don’t mistake this for not liking it. I LOVE Next to Normal, but imagine the initial pitch for it. “Yeah, we’re writing a musical about a woman who is so ‘crazy’ that she imagines her dead baby all grown up. Cool, right?”
I don’t know about you, but I would’ve been confused, to say the least. How are you planning to make THAT a musical? I imagine I would’ve asked. Ahhh, but just look how beautiful it turned out! Sometimes crazy is where it’s at.
2. Avenue Q
These days less and less seems crazy to see on the broad way, but I’m imagining back to the early 2000s. The Crucible had been revived. Mamma Mia was out. Oklahoma…pretty normal stuff, right? And here comes these guys who want to put cursing puppets on the stage? I would be giving them definite side eye.
But again–IT WORKS. It’s adorable, fun and who doesn’t love the music? It’s super catchy and often very heartfelt. Totally unexpected from an adult Sesame Street kind of gig.
Obviously Monty Python has been very popular for years. It’s funny, people love it. But who could’ve ever seen it as a musical? Again, looking at it now, it TOTALLY works and we can’t imagine a musical theatre world without Spamalot (or things like it) in it. But before we were born, this was not the norm, these were not hits. Times…they are a-changin’.
I’m not even going to try to explain this one.
5. Starlight Express
It’s about …toy trains. No, wait, RUN AWAY toy trains…and they’re played by actors on roller skates. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? Now, granted, this wasn’t a Broadway hit, but on the West End it played for over 7,000 performances! A LOT of people wanted to see these little trains. That is insane to me.
6. Jesus Christ Superstar
“Guys! Guys! I want to write a musical about Jesus.” Everyone nods. “And he’s gonna be a ROCKSTAR!” *cricket*
Can you just imagine!? Writing a show about a religious figure doesn’t seem odd. This definitely wouldn’t be the first time a religious themed show would be popular. Fiddler anyone? But I’m guessing this one was a hard sell. People are really attached to their religion and how it is portrayed. When you get down to it and reaaaally think about it, the concept actually makes perfect sense. If someone came along like that today, they would be treated like a rockstar, buuuut…I’m guessing the initial conversation wasn’t an easy one.
Ok–that’s all I’ve got for now.
I love all these shows as much as the next person, but you have to admit, they probably sounded kind of nutty when they were just ideas, right??
Now, I know this isn’t a definitive list. There are WAY more out there. Comment with some you’ve thought of below.