5 Nonfiction Books We’d Like To See As Musicals


Many a favorite story from the page has come to life on the stage, set to song as a musical. Wicked. Oliver! Les Misérables. Even Cats was based on a book—T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. I remember discovering that last fact and getting the giggles, imagining what must have gone through the mind of whoever had that idea: “Wow, these cat poems are great. You know what would be even better? If we dressed people up as these cats and had them sing songs about death! It’s a guaranteed hit!” And so it was.

Speaking of death, theater producers seem to be working their way through some of the darkest book material they can find to adapt into musicals. This winter, in London’s theater district, audiences will get to see a musical version of homicidal sociopath classic American Psycho, and this summer, the first-ever major musical version of Lord of the Flies made its debut. The chilling tale of schoolboys stranded on an island, reverting to mankind’s primitive roots and turning on one another in a savage war for survival… now with singing!

Books-turned-musicals do so well, we should expect to see more of them. Maybe when composers are finished with the death-and-darkness genre, they can plumb another untapped source: nonfiction.

Get ready for…

Lean In: The Musical! 
Featuring new songs “Have It All and Have a Ball,” “Dancing on the Glass Ceiling,” and “Bitch, Please.”

The Joy of Cooking: More Joy, More Singing
The ensemble number demonstrating how to chop a turkey carcass will have you dancing in the aisles!

Chicken Soup for the Soul Train
Everybody, get on board. Your favorite disco hits from the 70s and 80s are back, in a rousing production that reminds us all to keep an open heart and a superfly mind.

Outliers Out Loud!
Malcolm Gladwell spent 10,000 hours writing the score to this inspirational hit, as well as the lyrics to showtunes such as “You’ll Probably Never Achieve Your Dreams,” and “Too Bad You’re Not Steve Jobs.”

Personal Finance For Dummies
You’ve never had as much fun paying taxes as you’ll have singing along to this laugh-out-loud comedy of spreadsheets. The surprise hit of the summer!

See you on Broadway!

What book do you think they’ll make into a musical next?

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