12 Beloved Broadway Plays Brought to Screen

Hollywood and Broadway have long since been taking inspiration from each other. With two highly anticipated film adaptations of Into the Woods and Annie hitting theaters soon, here’s a look at twelve Broadway plays brought to screen.

August: Osage County

Tracy Letts wrote the 2013 adaptation of his own Pulitizer Prize-winning play of the same name, which made its Broadway debut in 2007. The story follows a dysfunctional family that is forced to reunite after the patriarch suddenly disappears. The film starred a huge ensemble cast of big name actors, including Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both of whom received Oscar nominations for their performances in the film.

Angels in America

Mike Nichols adapted Tony Kusher’s two-part, six-hour epic play, about six New Yorkers whose lives intersect in 1985, into a miniseries for HBO in 2003. The adaptation featured an A-list cast, including Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary Louise Parker, Al Pacino, and Jeffrey Wright (who had previously won a Tony for playing the same role on Broadway) and earned critical acclaim, as well as Golden Globe and Emmy awards.


Based on Peter Shaffer’s award-winning play portraying the creative feud between famed composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, the film of the same name premiered to critical praise in 1984. The movie, starring F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, and Elizabeth Berridge, earned eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

The Sound of Music

The 1959 Broadway production, based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, spurred numerous productions and revivals. But perhaps most notably, it was adapted to the big screen in a now famous film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The movie won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Miracle Worker

Anna Bancroft and Patty Duke both won Oscars in 1962 for reprising the roles they first made come to life on Broadway. The 1959 play, which follows the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller, was also just as critically acclaimed, winning the Tony Award for Best Play, Best Director, and Best Actress.

Death of a Salesman

The Pulitizer Prize-winning play by Arthur Miller premiered on Broadway in 1949 and has since been revived four times, winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival on top of its original Tony Award for Best Play. It’s been adapted to screen several times. The big screen version occurred in 1951, directed by Laszlo Bendek and starring Fredric Marc and Kevin McCarthy, both of whom received Oscar nominations. Five television versions followed, with two airing in 1966 on CBS and BBC, the third (starring Dustin Hoffman) debuting in 1985, the fourth in 1996, and the most recent in 2000.


The original 1926 written by Maurine Dallas Watkins spawned a 1927 movie, a 1942 movie, and 1975 stage musical. The latter in turned inspired a 2002 film, that starred Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones and won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture. It was the first musical to win Best Picture since 1969.


The original Broadway production opened in 1966, subsequently kicking off several productions in cities in the U.S. and Europe, as well as recent revivals (including one currently starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams). It also inspired a 1972 musical film of the same name directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey. The adaptation earned critical acclaim and ten Academy Award nominations, eight of which it won (including Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Actor).

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The 1962 play by Edward Albee, examining the breakdown of a marriage of a middle-aged couple, won the Tony Award for Best Play and has been frequently revived on stage since. It also inspired a 1966 film adaptation, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, that was nominated for a whopping thirteen Academy Awards. The film won five of the awards, including Best Actress for Taylor.

Jersey Boys

The musical, chronicling the formation, success, and eventual breakup of The Four Seasons, first opened on Broadway in 2005 and has since had national tours all over the world. Since its debut, it’s won four Tonys and an original cast recording won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Warner Bros led a big screen adaptation with director Clint Eastwood on board, starring John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli alongside Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken. The film was released on June 20 of this year and grossed a worldwide total of $57.8 million.


The Tony-award winning musical, following the story of 11-year-old orphan Annie, began in 1977. It ran for almost six years, before spawning numerous productions in other countries and national tours. The show’s songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” are two of Broadway’s most well known musical numbers, featured prominently in each of the show’s screen adaptation. The musical has been brought to screen three times, the first time in 1982 starring Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, and Aileen Quinn. A TV movie version was broadcast in 1999, starring Victor Garber, Kathy Bates, and Alicia Morton. Sony will released the third adaptation on Christmas Day 2014, with Quzenvhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, and Cameron Diaz in the lead roles.

Into the Woods

Disney is developing the highly anticipated upcoming adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim award-winning Broadway stage play, which takes a darker spin on the fairy tales most of us are familiar with. The Rob Marshall-directed film stars some of the most popular actors in the industry today, including Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, James Corden, Emily Blunt, and Johnny Depp, among others. The film is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day.

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