When I came across this fantastic Blogathon idea by Rachel over at Rachel’s Theatre Reviews and Rosie over at The Rosebud Cinema. It was something that I just had to get involved with, because as well as loving the cinema and films I have a passion for the theatre and seeing shows. This is something which I have now properly been doing for the past 10 years, yes realising that has made me stop and think, so it seems to be a perfect time to put together this blog post. I am going to look at all of the different shows I have seen on the stage and then also seen the film version.
I have seen quite a lot of shows and even onto a third, fourth and coming up to the fifth time of seeing some of them. You can see the full list of what I have seen at the Theatre here. A few which I saw before 2004 are missing as I don’t have the tickets with the dates on them, but those included ‘The King and I’, ‘Grease’ and ‘Annie’. So this is going to be interesting to put together and compare (a little bit) between the two different adaptations of the same material.
I had such an obsession with the film version of this, that I then just had to go and see the stage show. Even had David Hasselhoff taking on the role of Billy Flynn, honestly he was pretty amazing in that role. The differences between the two are quite major, the film gives it a glitz and glam makeover while the stage show is very dark, a simple set and no real costumes, they all wear black and don’t forget the Fosse hats to go with it (and the hands, Fosse hands). The best opening musical number in a musical ever for this one I reckon is All That Jazz. I haven’t found a show (yet) that has a better opening.
Rocky Horror Picture Show
This has been another obsession of mine and the stage show really is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime. It is unique and has audience participation. People get dressed up, bring props and react to what is happening on stage. If you get a good narrator it makes for an even better experience. I know you can still occasionally go to the cinema for this as well, but nothing is better than seeing the whole thing acted out properly in front of your eyes. It is a very spot on adaptation from the film to the stage version and doesn’t really have many differences at all.
I have seen this twice on stage and the first was when I was rather young and to my memory I enjoyed that. The most recent not so much, just wasn’t feeling that production at all. The film makes me smile even though it isn’t the greatest but it has so many moments which you cannot help but agree with and be happy about the songs. Plus it reminds me of dancing when I was young as used to do a few of the songs from this show.
The Sound of Music
An absolute classic of a film with Julie Andrews as Maria is a probably a difficult one to then nail on the stage, I went to see the production after the search for Maria was on UK TV by none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber so it was a special experience after being such a fan of Connie throughout and it see this on stage was amazing. The stage experience makes you feel like your inside the theatre when it’s time for the musical festival.
Guys and Dolls
This one is probably a bit of a strange one as the film is not one of my favourites, but the stage production tour I saw was truly awful. Honestly it was not well cast at all, especially when you think it has some fantastic songs in it.
The Phantom of the Opera
I had the pleasure of seeing the stage production before watching the film version of this one and so pleased I did. It is a remarkable stage experience, with the chandelier falling over the heads of the audience and the singing is something else. The film version is very close to the stage show which you can only praise the film makers for this. It works well and a very close adaptation.
This one is a difficult one to explain as I saw a truly awful production on stage as part of the Broadway tours America in Houston Texas, honestly it was not good at all. Totally different to all three versions I had previously watched that were filmed, the songs were still good but the actual staging of it all was horrendous. Compared to the film version, I like that for the stage it has more songs in it which piece it all together in a slightly different way to the film. I do like the artistic nature of the darkness and how bright red the blood is though, that makes it look even better.
La Cage Aux Folles (The Birdcage)
Slightly different versions of the same story with La Cage Aux Folles being the musical and having the legendary ‘I am what I am’ in it. Both are fantastic in telling the same story with a lot of heart, and should be watched.
I have seen the film so many times and really did enjoy watching it on the stage as well. Both tell the story in a fantastic way, baring in mind on the stage the set doesn’t change at all and it’s all in one room. Hard seeing something that you’ve watched on film so many times, but it was very well put together.
Not many differences between the screen and stage version as they both keep the same songs and everyone knows the story of Oliver Twist. But they are both well worth watching and stay true to the source material.
Singin’ in the Rain
I actually saw this on stage before I got round to watching the film, I wouldn’t say it is one of my favourites but I did quite enjoy it. If you see it on stage and you sit in the front few rows you are going to get wet, a lot of water is used which makes it even better in my opinion as really sets the scene for it raining.
Being from the North East the film always had a special place in my heart not forgetting that they use a few T Rex songs and the dancing is great along with Julie Walters. It took quite a lot of years to eventually see the stage show and I am so pleased it was something I can now cross off my seen list. The songs are different and very well put together along with the bigger influence of the mining strikes and a little bit more history in with the show. I cried my eyes out at the end of it as that’s how emotional it will make you feel.
Rock of Ages
This one is probably the most changed from stage to screen, I’m guessing this is due to making it more “suitable”. I watched the film first and throughly enjoyed it as this is my favourite type of music. But when I saw the stage show I was blown away by what they managed to get away with. They totally go for it with the whole rock and roll. It is pretty hilarious as well, which just adds to how different it is to other shows.
I have seen this twice on stage and it was a slightly different production of the show. Both are very powerful and start with the announcement of the death, by no means a happy musical at all. It does take quite a lot out of you watching the performances unfold before you. The film version with Madonna is one of those which is difficult to watch, as they sing or talk sing all the way through it.
Having seen both versions of the film and then it performed on the stage. They are two totally different things really, as the stage version is a musical while the film is more of a drama with some musical numbers in it. But the stage version has much more going on in terms of the singing. Although the latest revival tour in the UK was pretty bad really. As was just lacking quite a lot and the story which makes the film work is lost for that latest stage attempt.