Things That Go Bump On Broadway: 10 Scary Books and Movies That Should Come to the Stage

News   Things That Go Bump On Broadway: 10 Scary Books and Movies That Should Come to the Stage Playbill.com offers a collection of frightening books and movies that should be adapted for the Broadway stage.

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Halloween is lurking around the corner, and in honor of All Hallow's Eve, Playbill.com started thinking about classic scary stories we'd like to see onstage (besides "Hocus Pocus," obviously). Stories of haunted houses, blood-thirsty vampires and possessed children fill the movie theatres each year, so why shouldn't Broadway audiences enjoy a few good scares as well?

Click through to read which horror books and movies should creep their way to Broadway.

1. "Halloween"

This one's a no-brainer. The 1978 movie, starring Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut, has become a staple of the month of October. The inspiration for countless sequels and spin-offs, "Halloween" could easily be adapted for a play or musical. An unknown actress could make her Broadway debut playing Laurie, and we would definitely cast Shuler Hensley as Michael Myers.

 

2. "Let the Right One In"

Vampire stories haven't had much luck on Broadway (Dance of the Vampires; Dracula, the Musical; Lestat), but this book and subsequent film adaptation were surprise hits. The friendship between a shy little boy named Oskar and his neighbor Eli is a surprisingly moving story. With the London production coming to New York, the role of Eli could be a great way for one of the Matilda the Musical girls to show her darker side onstage.

 

3. "The Turn of the Screw"

This psychological thriller, whose ending is open to many interpretations, would offer great opportunities for set and lighting to thrill the audience. The classic story follows a young governess who, after being hired to care for a little boy and girl whose parents are dead, soon thinks the estate she lives in is home to ghosts. Whether it is ghosts or mental illness that haunt the governess is never stated in the book and would be up to the artistic team or the audience to decide. The novella has been adapted into numerous films and an opera, as well as the Deborah Kerr movie "The Innocents." A stage play of The Turn of the Screw, adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, was presented in a co-production with Hammer at the Almeida Theatre, London, in January 2013.

 

4. "Black Swan"

This movie won Natalie Portman an Oscar; perhaps it could win another leading lady a Tony. This thriller, about a ballerina suffering from pressure and anxiety as she prepares for her first leading role, could feature some of Broadway's best dancers and offer the chance for some eerie stage tricks with set and lighting. And imagine Patti LuPone or Betty Buckley chewing the scenery as Nina's mother!

 

5. "It"

Stephen King's book about an amorphous evil force that terrorized a group of children who call themselves the "Losers Club" could be adapted into a creepy play or musical. "It," the evil force that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey, could be represented onstage through the use of puppets, lighting and projections. And, the role of Pennywise the Clown, one of its most horrifying forms, would be a great fit for the intense talents of Brian d'Arcy James.

 

6. "The Stepford Wives"

"Imagine what men can do behind closed doors." Ira Levin's novel has been adapted for the screen twice — in 1975 and 2004 — and this story of men who (Spoiler Alert!) have their wives turned into robots offers some great material for a musical stage adaptation. Imagine a robotic musical number by all of the wives or a song-and-dance routine in the grocery store as the women, decked out in floral dresses, shop at a leisurely pace. The role of Joanna would be a wonderful one for a fierce actress like Celia Keenan-Bolger or Jennifer Damiano.

 

7. "The Omen"

This terrifying story of a dead baby being switched at birth with the son of the devil could make for a moody, suspenseful stage work. The role of Robert Thorn, played in the movie by Gregory Peck, would be a great leading role for someone like Victor Garber, and the staging of the religious symbols and violent deaths that follow anyone who knows Damien's real identity would be a wonderful challenge for the technical and creative team.

 

8. "The Shining"

Stephen King's novel about the Overlook Hotel and the evil forces that possess it has been adapted for the screen twice — once in 1980 and for a TV miniseries in 1997. While both were thrilling in different ways, a stage adaptation could present an entirely new take on the story of alcoholism, family trauma and supernatural forces. The role of Jack would be a great vehicle for stage and screen star Zachary Quinto. And, imagine how the topiary animals described in the book could be staged!

 

9. "Rosemary's Baby"

The Roman Polanski film adaptation of Ira Levin's novel ended with Mia Farrow singing to the baby in the crib. What would be a more natural evolution than for a musical to be next? The set of the Bramford, which was represented by the Dakota in the movie, would look wonderful onstage, and just imagine the team of actors who could play eccentric and ominous neighbors Minnie and Roman. We pick Julie Halston and Tim Curry.

 

10. "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

"One, two. Freddy's coming for you." This Wes Craven movie is just begging to be adapted into a musical. The story of a dark secret held by parents in a small community returning from the past to haunt their children offers the chance for fast-paced musical numbers about the chase and kill as well as haunting melodies about the parents' dark deed. And, casting Marc Kudisch as Freddy Krueger is a no-brainer.

 

 

(Carey Purcell is the Features Editor of Playbill.com. Her work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillCarey.)

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