Rumour has it that Clueless is going to be turned into a Broadway musical. You remember Clueless: Alicia Silverstone, thigh-high tights, a young Paul Rudd, and using your thumbs and forefingers to make a “w” meaning “Whateeeeveeeer.” If you need a refresher Toronto’s TIFF is airing it as part of its back to the 90s series. That’s because Clueless was the defining high school movie about the ’90s and we hope the opening number will be a huge chorus of grossed out girls belting out “As iiiiiiiiiif!” in unison. That got us thinking about a few other ’90s movies we’d like to see take the flying leap onto the Broadway stage.
The soundtrack for this film was listed among Rolling Stone’s 25 best of all time, so making it into a musical is a no-brainer.
Curtain up: Our opening is a gun-toting sexy dance-romp called Someone’s Gonna Die Today.
Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson in the film, is played by Drake. Vincent Vega is still played by John Travolta because he rose to fame singing and dancing, and he hasn’t aged a day thanks to his Scientological cryogenic freezing. Uma Thurman is replaced by Idina Menzel because she’s a Broadway legend and because Travolta owes her one for calling her “Adele Dazeem” at the Oscars.
Travolta and Dazeem, er, Menzel bring the house down with their twist contest and Menzel’s 10-minute solo piece after getting an injection to the heart changes contemporary modern dance forever.
Low points include the lament Zed’s Dead, sung by a motorcycle about how much it misses its owner, and a love song that Travolta sings to his lunch called Royale with Cheese.
But the show redeems itself with its 11 o’clock number Ezekiel 25:17 when everyone sings And You Will Know My Name is the Lord When I Lay My Vengeance Upon Thee in glorious harmony before they shoot one another, thus fulfilling the promise they made in the opening.
DAZED AND CONFUSED
The title of the film is a famous Led Zeppelin song. It’s practically begging to become a musical.
Curtain up: The entire cast stares at a clock on the wall as the seconds tick down. A bell rings. Cannons blast papers into the crowd as they sing the opening song — Alice Cooper’s School’s Out.
Randall “Pink” Floyd is played by Zac Efron. The part was supposed to go to Justin Bieber, but nobody would work with him. Jason London, who played Floyd in the film, signs on to play David Wooderson, a part originated by Matthew McConaughey. Ben Affleck takes a career demotion, reprising his role of O’Bannion. Apparently he was dead to Hollywood after angry fans boycotted the new Batman film because he was in it.
The senior girls thrill the crowd with their song Freshman B*tches in which they use red ribbons to represent ketchup bottles and spray them everywhere. The audience is not so excited by an overly violent song called Paddling in which the senior boys just basically smack around their Freshman counterparts, but they redeem themselves with their STOMP-inspired number Mailbox Baseball later in the show.
London’s awkward solo High School Girls is cut from the show due to poor audience reaction, but the whole show wraps up nicely as the cast and the entire audience put on headphones and sing Slow Ride together in a delightfully interactive closer.
There’s no good reason for this film to become a musical, but if another Winona Ryder classic film Heathers is currently playing off-Broadway as a musical, then why shouldn’t this one too?
Curtain up: A television studio, on the set of “Good Morning, Grant”. It’s like the Hairspray opener “Good Morning, Baltimore” where we meet all the characters while they sing and dance about being twenty something with zero direction.
Lelaina Pierce (Ryder) is played by Lea Michele and Troy Dyerm (Ethan Hawke) is played by Home Improvement’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas in what he hopes is a launching pad for a comeback. Let’s hope he learns how to sing.
The most exhilarating moment takes place in a gas station Food Mart as the characters sing My Sharona while dancing a tightly choreographed throw-and-catch routine as they fill up shopping carts with food items. It ends with Lelaina in the spotlight, holding her daddy’s gas card, saying “charge it.”
A duet early in show You and Me and Five Bucks is a playful dance of chain smoking and coffee drinking, and its melody is reprised later in the angry duet The World Doesn’t Owe You Any Favours where Lelaina and Troy unleash their sexual tension while Troy’s one-night-stand watches.
The closing number is the whole cast playing acoustic guitars and wearing cutesy glasses while singing Lisa Loeb’s hit song from the soundtrack Stay. It makes zero narrative sense but fans of the film lose their minds for it.
Anyone who thinks this Oscar winning film wouldn’t be a brilliant musical is stupid, and as we all know, stupid is as stupid does.
Curtain up:The beautiful Forrest Gump theme song plays as a large, white feather is suspended in air and the cast sings Look at that feather go, where will it land? Nobody knows… as the feather darts and floats above the audience’s head.
The feather lands at the foot of Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks’ son, Colin Hanks. Forrest’s mother, played in the film by Sally Field, is played by Broadway legend, Harvey Firestein in drag. Other notable casting choices include Miley Cyrus as Jenny, and Donny Osmond as Captain Dan.
The show is packed with knee-tapping tunes like the chorus line of women dressed like bon-bons singing Life is Like A Box of Chocolates and the tear-jerking duet between Forrest and Jenny called We’s Like Peas n’ Carrots.
The show drags a little during a 10-minute solo song that Bubba sings called The Different Kinds of Shrimp but all is redeemed during the 11 o’clock show stopper Run, Forrest, Run in which the entire audience gets up and follows Forrest outside the theatre as he runs around an entire city block.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
The only people who don’t love this film are sociopaths. Everyone else wants to see this near-perfect flick made into a musical.
Curtain up: In an homage to West Side Story’s Jets vs. Sharks rivalry, the smart kids of Harvard are in a tussle with the working-class Boston kids. The Harvard kids are using their wit and their fencing moves and the neighbourhood kids are using their street smarts and their fists. Will is in the middle singing Where Do I Belong?
The title role of Will Hunting is played by Jeopardy genius Ken Jennings and the affable therapist Sean (Robin Williams’s role) is given to Ricky Martin. Ben Affleck again reprises a role this time as Chuckie and Minnie Driver’s part of Skylar is now played by Kelly Osbourne.
Audiences are tickled by the fraternal ditty in an orchard How Do Ya Like Them Apples, and they giggle as Will uses his mop and bucket to arrange the numbers and symbols of a math problem in the tap-dancing song I Could Always Just Play.
Bring your tissues to get through the heartwarming duet between Chuckie and Will called The Best Part of My Day where Chuckie tells Will that every day he hopes he’ll knock on his door and Will will be gone. Bring even more tissues to get through the push-and-pull dance number by Will and Sean called It’s Not Your Fault which will just seem homoerotic for anyone who doesn’t know the film.
But all is resolved in the end when Will hops in a car, singing the closing number I Had To Go See About A Girl as the cast lifts the car above their heads and carries it off into the highway sunset.