The list is too numerous but some of the titles are eye-opening. Movies that were reinvented as musicals. There was Footloose, A Christmas Story, Honeymoon in Vegas, Re-Animator (with no Jeffrey Combs), and Evil Dead. These are just a few of the hundreds of hit (and non-hit) movies that have been turned into musicals. You can now count the 1985 comedy megahit, which also spawned two sequels, the Michael J. Fox-led Back to the Future as another on the list of movies made into musicals. Back to the Future: The Musical is on the way and actress Lea Thompson, who portrayed Lorraine McFly, has some ideas about the musical from where it’s going to who she thinks should star in it.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL
Movieweb recently spoke to Thompson about the possibility of her being asked to perform in the musical as it expands further than London since she does have a musical background. “They would not ask me because I’m way too old. But of course I would. But I’m way too old. I always thought that they should have Chris Lloyd in it. I know everyone always asks me if there’s gonna be a sequel. And there won’t be. There won’t be a reboot. But I’m pretty sure they’re probably already working on making a movie of the musical. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. I don’t know anything like that, but that’s my opinion.” So, not only has the stage musical been produced, but according to Thompson, she thinks it is setting itself up nicely to be made into a movie.
The stage musical bowed earlier this year (yes, in March of 2020, before we became pandemically-challenged) at the Manchester Opera House in England. The musical has a book written by Bob Gale, who also served as the co-writer of the Back to the Future trilogy along with trilogy director Robert Zemeckis. Zemeckis is back as the musical’s producer which also sees the original trilogy’s musical director Alan Silvestri’s add some new music to the popular old stuff.
The early word (pre-COVID shutdown) was that reviewers were taken with the musical and its direction and music and that fans of the movie will love what Gale and Zemeckis bring to the stage. Which only lends further credence to Thompson’s thoughts on a possible musical movie.
A NEW LORRAINE MCFLY
She has an idea as to who she’d love to see take over her role as Lorraine McFly since she has no doubt she’d never be asked. “Oh, I would do whatever they would ask me to do. But I would hope my daughter Zoey would get an audition for the Lorraine part. I think that would be awesome. I’d be all for it. I’m not sure what her opinion would be. But she is a really good singer. She sang in The Politician, and she’s a great actress. So I think it would be a funny meta thing to do. They could put Michael Fox’s son in it. And they could put my dog in it.” Thompson also had an idea as to who could direct the film if Zemeckis didn’t want to come back in that role. “And then they’ll let me direct it. If Bob Zemeckis doesn’t want to, I could direct it, so that would be fun.”
THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
Thompson may be on to something in terms of her possibly directing a perhaps not but maybe so film adaptation of Back to the Future: The Musical as her recent background has seen her behind the camera on many projects. “Yes, that’s what I mostly do. I directed a movie called The Year of Spectacular Men with my two daughters and I’ve been directing back 10 or 15 years. Yes, I directed that. That’s on Hulu and I directed it. I’m about to go direct Star Girl. I did Mom, Star Girl, The Goldbergs. Young Sheldon, a ton of TV. That Switched at Birth show. I did two movies for the Hallmark Channel, so I’ve been directing a lot. That’s what I do most of the time.”
A LONG BREAK FOR BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL
As with most other things, Back to the Future: The Musical has taken a long hiatus. It will be well over a year before it once again will be performed for the public with producers and cast set for another premiere in May of 2021 at the Adelphi Theater in London. This will actually be the first time a public audience will get to enjoy the musical as the first time around. Only select guests, critics, family, and friends, which included cast members and crew from the original movies, had the pleasure of going Back to the Future. The production was shut down shortly after.
But fans of the movie can rest assured that they will be entertained. The songs include many from the movie, “Power of Love” is the biggie. A sample from the musical can be seen below, the stage version of the Huey Lewis and the News hit song.
Here is one more sample from the musical.
While nothing has been officially announced, don’t think Thompson’s suggestion that a movie will be made if the musical doesn’t hold water. Little Shop of Horrors is a perfect example of a movie made into a musical made into a movie musical. If Back to the Future and its musical can follow that recipe, a movie musical could be in the cards.