When the Oscar nominations are getting ready to be announced, I am on my fifth cup of coffee and I am triple checking my prediction charts every five seconds. I love the Tonys, but I am nowhere near as feverish.
Imagine my shock when all four nominees (Bring It On: The Musical, Matilda: The Musical, A Christmas Story, and Kinky Boots) for Best Musical were based on movies previously produced (I guess the movie A Christmas Story was based on short stories, but the musical is based more on the look and style of the 1983 classic film). Not a single original work in the bunch. This is the first time that all of the nominees were based on popular films. They've come very closed, mind you. For example, Monty Python's Spamalot, A Light in the Piazza and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were all nominated against original work The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
I honestly thought Motown: The Musical or Chaplin might sneak in there, but instead Bring It On: The Musical got in. Can I also just say that I abhor when the title of something is meekly followed with :The Musical! No shit, it's a musical. It's like you're afraid to let the work stand on its own, because you know it would be more welcome in its original format.
The slate of musicals nominated for Best Revival are a more traditional set of shows. Not a "let's all go to the lobby" in sight.
Musicals based on movies has been a trend for years on Broadway, and finally they have completely taken over. Granted, you wouldn't walk through Broadway without being assaulted by huge posters of Billy Elliot, Shrek, and Marry Poppins. What would the musicals scene be like without movies? Not all movie-to-stage adaptations are hits (cough, Leap of Faith, couth). Perhaps original works seem even more special when they are pitted against the constant barrage of movie musicals. Next to Normal, The Book of Mormon and Spelling Bee were all fantastic works in their own right. Would Broadway be a beacon for stuff like [title of show] or would it completely flounder without such big, family-friendly fare?