‘A League of Their Own’ Musical Steps Up to the Plate

Sabrina Petrafesa ‘18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

It has been announced by Jason Robert Brown that the beloved film, A League of Their Own, is being turned into a musical – the classic film about an all-women’s baseball league during World War II when there was an absence of male athletes and a lack of entertainment for the American people. Brown is a Tony Award-winning composer and can be trusted to create music worthy of the movie and the story. However, will the adaptation even be worth it? The music can be great, we already know that the story is great, but putting the two together might not make a hit.

The movie came out in 1992 and it starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna. It follows the story of two rivaling sisters, Dottie Hinson (Davis) and Kit Heller (Petty), who join the first female professional baseball league. It’s a fictionalized story based on the very real tale of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It’s a classic film that exemplifies women and the lengths they will go to achieve their dream, even though people had never seen a female baseball league before. If we ever manage to see this film go to Broadway, it will have to be amazing. It doesn’t even have to be better than the original movie, it just has be good and treated with respect; because when you think about the history of professional baseball, you don’t think about these women and their stories. You think about Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Jackie Robinson.

Jason Robert Brown. Photo Credit: The New York Times
Jason Robert Brown. Photo Credit: The New York Times

It’s a good thing that Jason Robert Brown is the one working on creating this musical. He’s created music for countless shows: The Bridges of Madison County, The Last Five Years, 13, Parade, and Honeymoon in Vegas. There are many others, but the important part is that he’s done this before. Brown took the film Honeymoon in Vegas and turned that into a musical, which is still doing very well. His musical The Last Five Years has just recently become a movie and the transition from stage to screen was good. So Brown has experience in both worlds and knows how to turn a good story into a good musical.

When anyone watches the movie with the intention of turning scenes into song and dance numbers, you can see all the perfect places to put so many musical scenes. Every montage scene that happens in the movie could be turned into a great musical montage. The way to the women’s first game could also work for a dance number, and there’s even a scene where the least attractive member on the team is singing to the man that ends up becoming her husband. In a musical, that serenade could go from a normal song and seamlessly transition into a ballad about her loving that random man. Then you have to think about what kind of music is going to be in the musical. Should it be the classic kind of 40s feel? Will it be more modern than that? How about a mix of the two? It’ll be interesting to see what Brown does with the music for this show.

Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

However, there are doubts. Mixing musical theater with sports can be risky business. But that’s not to say it can’t work. Damn Yankees ran for 1,019 performances on its original Broadway run in 1955, but can the same happen in 2015? A League of Their Own has had a very reverent following since it’s such a classic film, but many may be skeptical about this musical in fear of ruining the classic film. No matter how many fans the movie has, if the show isn’t good then it’s not going to be successful. Which would be so unfortunate, because as movies get old they become forgotten, and this would be such a great way to bring back fans’ interest and introduce the movie to brand new audiences.

The story of these women is absolutely amazing, and in the end, getting it as a musical would be spectacular. But if it doesn’t succeed on stage, at least the movie will still be here.


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