Musical Theater of the (20)20s (so far)
Updated: Jan 20
By Clara Pressey
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it illegal — not to mention just straight-up dangerous to attend and produce live theater performances in many places. However, as they say in the theater world, the show must go on. Here are some recent and upcoming musical adaptations to keep you on the edge of your seat!
1. The Prom (2020)
Image via What’s On Stage
The Prom was a 2018 Broadway musical that was recently adapted into a Netflix original movie. It follows a young woman named Emma Nolan (played by Jo Ellen Pellman) who faces adversity when she wants to attend her senior prom with her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose). The film was directed by Ryan Murphy and also stars Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Keegan Michael-Key, Kerry Washington, and Broadway favorite Andrew Rannells.
2. West Side Story (2021)
Image via Vanity Fair
Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story is set to be released on December 10th of this year. It will have many of the same elements as the original 1961 film, which was a combined creative effort by the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Jerome Robbins. This movie adaptation will star Rachel Zegler as Maria and Ansel Elgort as Tony — with a special appearance by Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original film.
3. In the Heights (2021)
Image via Variety
This adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda’s 2005 musical In the Heights is set to release June 18, 2021. Until then, we’ll just have to keep watching Hamilton on Disney+. The film was directed by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) and stars Anthony Ramos (Hamilton) as Usnavi — the owner of a bodega in Washington Heights. Alongside him star Stephanie Beatriz, Jimmy Smits, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, and Daphna Rubin-Vega. Miranda himself even makes an appearance.
4. Tick, Tick...Boom! (2021)
Not a whole lot is known about this upcoming musical adaptation yet (hence the lack of a picture). Directed by Lin Manuel Miranda (in his directorial debut), the film is set to follow Rent creator Jonathan Larson’s biographic musical of the same name. It will mostly likely come out sometime this year, as Netflix just teased it along with its other 2021 films. Cast members include Vanessa Hudgens, Andrew Garfield, Jordan Fisher, Alexandra Shipp, Judith Light, and Bradley Whitford.
Musical theater is a beautiful thing that brings light and joy to the lives of so many people. The hope and inspiration that it provides are essential to survival in this world where so much is uncertain and taking action against such a broad sea of troubles seems impossible. That hope and inspiration can come to people from many places, but I think that musical theater is especially fun.
Written by writer Clara Pressey