Screen to Stage: Movie into Musical Success Stories

By Benjamin Solomon
16 Aug 2013

Gary Beach in The Producers.
Photo by Paul Kolnik

The Producers (2001)

Mel Brooks' feature film debut, about a washed-up Broadway producer and his accountant who set out to make a profit by ensuring a Broadway flop, is undoubtedly a comedy classic which earned Brooks his only Academy Award and marks his first film with regular collaborator Gene Wilder. But upon its debut, "The Producers" received mixed reviews and in the ensuing years was often pushed to the margins of his filmography — that is until he was approached by David Geffen to turn it into a stage musical. The result was nothing short of a Broadway phenomenon, breaking box-office records and earning a never-before-seen 15 Tony Award nominations. The musical became a pop-culture landmark and even inspired a star-studded film adaptation featuring many members of the original Broadway cast. Sadly, the film of the stage musical adapted from the movie about a musical flop didn't fare well in cinemas, its poor reception the only stain on The Producers' shining legacy.