18 Musicals That Began as Plays

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18 Musicals That Began as Plays

Get to know the plays behind shows like Hello, Dolly!, 110 in the Shade, Kiss Me Kate, Oklahoma!, and more.

Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!


Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!

Martha Swope / The New York Public Library


With a treasure chest of riveting stories, the theatre can draw inspiration from within itself. From My Fair Lady to Wonderful Town, there have been plenty of musical adaptations of popular plays over the years. How many can you name?

18 Musicals That Began as Plays

18 Musicals That Began as Plays

36 PHOTOS

Carousel_Broadway_Production_Photo_1993_Audra Ann-McDonald, Michael-Hayden & Sally-Murphy_HR.jpg


Musical: Audra McDonald, Michael-Hayden, and Sally Murphy in Carousel

Joan Marcus


Burgess Meredith. Joan Tetzel & Ingrid Bergman in Liliom - New York 44th Street Theatre (1940).jpg


Play: Burgess Meredith, Joan Tetzel, and Ingrid Bergman in Liliom by Ferenc Molnar


Audra McDonald and Christopher Innvar in <i>110 in the Shade</i>, 2007″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/b768ccc/2147483647/resize/800×450/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2F6d%2F1f%2Ffc361038448c856994747255e303%2Fshade4.jpg” data-url=”4″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Musical: Audra McDonald and Christopher Innvar in <i>110 in the Shade</i></p>
<p>                    <span>Joan Marcus</span></p>
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<p>    <img alt=The Rainmaker” data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/068362c/2147483647/resize/800×450/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2F95%2F4e%2Fb75a9afc4e40b2ae31d21e0d1df9%2Fnypl.digitalcollections.bdd001bb-2a81-727b-e040-e00a180621f9.001.w.jpg” data-url=”5″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”>


Play: Darren McGavin and Geraldine Page in The Rainmaker by N. Richard Nash

Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


Tom Hewitt and cast in <i>The Boys from Syracuse</i>, 2002″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/82af509/2147483647/resize/800×450%3E/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2F75%2Fc9%2F784b96004287a47fecfa1653c2b0%2Fsyr3.jpg” data-url=”6″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Musical: Tom Hewitt and cast in <i>The Boys from Syracuse</i></p>
<p>                    <span>Joan Marcus</span></p>
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<p>    <img alt=The Comedy of Errors” data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/b8afe86/2147483647/resize/800×450/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fdc%2Fce%2F679e744845a0882fe92987a4100b%2Ferrorsglobe05.jpg” data-url=”7″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”>


Play: The cast of The Comedy of Errors by Shakespeare

Jim Cox


Susan Johnson and Shorty Long in <i>The Most Happy Fella</i>” data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/3e2461e/2147483647/resize/800×450/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2F0b%2F88%2Fdd11ef254b1e80785267ccbd123a%2Fskm-c554e18073113110.jpg” data-url=”8″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Musical: Susan Johnson and Shorty Lon in <i>The Most Happy Fella</i></p>
<p>                    <span>Arthur Cantor</span></p>
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<p>    <img alt=They Knew What They Wanted” data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/308efed/2147483647/resize/800×450/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fc6%2F52%2Fbb01071c4be6a7cb757ef3dc1123%2Fnypl.digitalcollections.da7671e0-0cd8-0131-e214-58d385a7bbd0.001.w.jpg” data-url=”9″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”>


Play: Glenn Anders, Pauline Lord, and Richard Bennett in They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard

Francis Joseph Bruguière/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


Taming of the Shrew 1960 .jpg


Play: Cast of Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare

Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts


Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell in <i>Kiss Me, Kate</i>, 1999″ data-bsp-lazyimage=”” data-lazy=”https://bsp-static.playbill.com/dims4/default/1eb4827/2147483647/resize/800×450%3E/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpb-asset-replication.s3.amazonaws.com%2F09%2F62%2F6e70407343fbae9cfd8cb73f80ab%2Fkiss1.jpg” data-url=”11″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==”></img><figcaption>
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                Musical: Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell in <i>Kiss Me Kate</i></p>
<p>                    <span>Joan Marcus</span></p>
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