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Five Holiday Films Fit for the Stage

Bridget McCarthy ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Editor

From Dickens’ classic novel turned movie A Christmas Carol, to the newly transcribed “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” the theatre world is no stranger to taking beloved holiday films and turning them into shows for the stage. Irving Berlin’s quintessential Broadway-inspired film, White Christmas had a short limited engagement at the Marquis theatre in 2008, and Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas also had a limited run on Broadway in 2006, and is currently on its North American tour. With all these movies moving from screen to stage, it begs the question: what holiday films would we want to see on stage next?

5. Love Actually

Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually. Photo Credit: Universal Studios.
Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually. Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

This star-studded Richard Curtis film serves as a reminder as to why everyone loves romantic comedies – especially when Christmas is involved. So imagine what would happen if tear-jerking, heart-warming ballads were also involved? If Love Actually were brought to the stage, especially as a musical, it would instantly become a holiday staple in its own right.

4. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Fred Astaire in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town. Photo Credit: Rankin/Bass Productions.
Fred Astaire in Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. Photo Credit: Rankin/Bass Productions.

Ah, yes, the 1970 Claymation in which Fred Astaire voices the mailman who reveals the true origins of Santa Claus. Who would not love to see “Put One Foot in Front of the Other,” the song in which the Winter Warlock learns to walk performed as a tap number? And what about “My World is Beginning Today,” the song sung by Jessica, (who is a young Mrs. Claus,) which is now cut out of most televised broadcasts? Okay, to be fair, the song is pretty strange in Claymation form, and slightly scary to say the least. But even more of a reason to adapt it for Broadway! Let’s have Sutton Foster or Kara Lindsay take the song on and make it beautiful – it has potential if you add a stellar voice, (and take out the trippy background animation).

3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Joe Pesci, Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Joe Pesci, Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

One of the few times the sequel was better than the original, which is why the second should hit the stage first; and because everything’s obviously better with New York. Cute kid actors are always the most exciting to watch perform live, so get on that double-cast of Kevin McAllister now Broadway! Here’s to hoping they can find a boy as adorable and simultaneously creepy looking as Macaulay Culkin.

2. The Polar Express

Still from The Polar Express. Photo Credit: Warner Brothers.
Still from The Polar Express. Photo Credit: Warner Brothers.

The illustrations looked beautiful in Chris Van Allsburg’s book, and even cooler in Robert Zemeckis’ film with live-action performance animation. On a stage The Polar Express could be taken one step further on an even grandeur level of live performance beauty. The creative possibilities with lighting and other interactive features with the train and present scenes are endless. This could be a powerful show in both its message of Christmas spirit and visual components.

1. The Year Without a Santa Claus

Still from The Year Without a Santa Claus.
Still from The Year Without a Santa Claus.

Only two characters are needed to prove this holiday special needs to be on stage: Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Their songs are two musical numbers that have to be performed and seen live – and soon.

The number of holiday movies being adapted for the stage is still growing, and fast. New Christmas favorite Elf with comedian Will Ferrell was turned into a Broadway musical in 2012, and even Rudolph, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, also made its musical debut this year in Boston. Old and new, no holiday classic is safe; but they are always in good hands on the stage.

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