Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Broadway Buzz: Great Broadway Reads

Some of the best known shows in Broadway history started as great books, and this winter you can read Broadway favorites from the comfort of your favorite living room chair. Sadly there isn’t enough time to read them all, but a few must-read classics are definitely making my reading list this winter.
“Les Misérables” Based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Misérables features the popular song “I Dreamed a Dream.” It appeared on “Glee” last season, shined in the limelight during Susan Boyle’s 2009 audition and has been covered by others like Neil Diamond and Aretha Franklin. Did you know the song was from the Broadway musical Les Misérables? Set in nineteenth-century France, the story follows characters, such as Jean Valjean, Fantine and Cosette, as they struggle for redemption and revolution. The musical premiered on Broadway in March 1987 and had a successful stay until May 2003. The show is currently touring a brand new 25th anniversary production, with new staging and reimagined scenery based on paintings by Victor Hugo himself.
“Dracula” Before “Twilight,” “True Blood” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a different vampire was taking our breath away. The 1897 novel by Bram Stoker took its first bite into Broadway in 1927 and has seen many different stages and screens since 1897. Dracula is currently casting its shadow off-Broadway with Italian Michel Altieri debuting as Dracula, opposite Sweeney Todd star George Hearn as vampire-hunter Van Helsing. Who would have guessed that the over 100 year old novel would fit so well into today’s pop culture? It’s really a story to sink your teeth into.
“Little Women” The Fox Cities P.A.C. hosted Louisa May Alcott’s classic story Little Women in February 2006, a show that first premiered on Broadway in 1912! The timeless stories of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March are entertaining, endearing and opened my eyes to how life could be like with three sisters. Think you already know this one by heart? Take the Sparknotes quiz and see how well your memory serves you. Maybe you’ll need to dust off your copy for a little winter reading.
I won’t have enough snowy days to read all of the literature that inspired Broadway shows, which ones will you add to your list?

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