Why is it so hard to make musicals original?

There is a plethora of musicals that are adapated from another source, from older ones such as Les Miserables, through the 90’s and 00’s hits such as The Lion King, Wicked and Billy Elliot to the recent Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Whilst this is not unique to musicals, what is notable is that there is so very few original scripts to balance it. You could count the original musicals in the last 10 years on one hand (Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, which have the same makers.) It would be nice to see this from the pont for view of someone who is well versed in musicals, and to see if there is a reason for it beyond unoriginality.

  • This seems to be a general trend in entertainment. So many new movies and tv shows are also based on books, earlier movies, etc. I don't know if it's because of a lack of originality, or because it's less of a risk for creators to base their productions on works that have already proven successful. – Marcie Waters 9 years ago
  • Writing an original musical is, like any large creative project, incredibly daunting. You need a story, music, choreography, lighting, rigging, etc. Part of it is, I imagine, just that it's easier and cheaper to write a musical version of a story that's already been written and put it out there for the masses to enjoy, while you reap the profit. The other part of it is it would be incredibly difficult to create an original musical that would garner enough attention to make a profit. For example, Oklahoma is a musical about a two couples finally reconciling their differences to come together as the state of Oklahoma officially becomes a state. Oklahoma was written in the 50's and was good for it's time. Nowaday's, to reference the two musicals you mentioned, there are Avenue Q and Book of Mormon. Both are incredibly offensive to the wrong audience member. They're crude, crass, and the lines/songs are not necessarily something you would sing/say in every day life. It's gotten harder to draw people in to musicals these days, and the profit just isn't there anymore. – LittleLottie 9 years ago
  • What about Brecht? – mcdover 9 years ago

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