My Top 5 Musical Adaptions of Classic Novels

I’ve loved classics since I was about in first grade and have loved them ever since. And you know that excitement that one gets when they hear that the book that they’re reading is getting a movie adaptation or already has one? Well… the same goes for me with musical adaptations. So today I thought that I would share some of my favorite musical adaptations of classic novels.

· LES MISÉRABLES – What kind of list would this be without LES MISÉRABLES on here? I’ll be the first to admit that the novel is no cup of tea—it’s ridiculously tough to get through—but it’s worth it in my opinion. Anyways, the musical is a classic by anyone’s standards. It has truly changed me. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful musical adaptation. The characters are very well-done and the songs that they’ve got only enhance their character.

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Again, we have another classical, well-beloved musical. Unlike LES MIZ, though, PHANTOM’s book is much, much easier to get through. It’s short and it won’t take longer than a day to read for a fast reader. Of course, there are a few differences from the book in the musical but for the most part, I think that those changes are well done and I don’t mind them.

· A TALE OF TWO CITIES – This is a wonderful, wonderful adaptation. The characters are done splendidly. Sydney Carton is so… Sydney with those songs. I can’t think of a better way of transferring his personality into something that people can see and hear than by song. It’s a heartbreaker, this one. But it’s wonderful.

· JEKYLL & HYDE – I don’t talk about this musical nearly as much as I should. This musical has some wonderful, wonderful songs. There’s just something so compelling about the orchestrations and the lyrics. When I first heard that there was a musical version of JEKYLL & HYDE, I thought that it’d be a mess. After all, how would they perfectly get the whole transformation on stage? Well… they do. And it’s awesome. It’s really, really awesome.

· OLIVER! – Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors when it comes to classics and OLIVER TWIST is one of my favorites. I grew up watching OLIVER! and it was actually what introduced me to musical theatre and made me fall in love with it. To this day, it remains one of my favorites and one of my most recommended musicals. It’s got wonderful dance breaks and wonderful, wonderful songs that I never get tired of. Highly recommend the movie version of this musical as well. I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite musical movies.

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So, there you have five musical adaptions of classic stories! What are some of your favorites? Tschüss!

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19 thoughts on “My Top 5 Musical Adaptions of Classic Novels

  1. Les Misérables by far is an incredible book to stage adaptation. The stage show stays so faithful to the book despite a few character difference. The musical wonderfully reflects the beautiful emotions that are written in the book. It helps bring out these wonderfully written characters and storylines to life. The musical really strengthens everything that has made that book a masterpiece. Tough read, but so worth it especially if you are fan of the musical

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      1. I used the musical to get through the book. Whenever a major character from the musical is introduced, I underlined the name. Each time I recognized a scene that is one of the songs, I wrote in the song. So glad the musical is leading people to want to read this book. Reading the book made me love the musical even more

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      2. Definitely! I have two copies of my Les Miz book–one that’s full of annotations and another that’s clean of all marks. Les Miz is a very rewarding book when you get through it but it can be super hard to get through

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      3. I have two copies of the book too. I have the abridged version, which I read first, but felt like something was left out by far.

        My other copy is the unabridged, which I read two years ago over the summer, which was the same summer I saw the musical in the West End. I finished that book in less than one summer. If it wasn’t for the musical, I never would have wanted to read that book

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      4. That’s awesome! I also read Les Miz over a summer a while ago. One of the most distinct memories I have of reading Les Miz is when I was on a train and reading the part where Valjean is in the coffin. I don’t know why that stands out so much to me but it does for whatever reason. I don’t know… it’s so nice to just be able to say “I read Les Miz”.

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      5. People cannot believe I finished that book without skipping over anything. But the most irritating part about the book was those boring history lessons, but without them, that book may not be the masterpiece it is. It helps you understand the time period these characters live in

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      6. Yep! And those long explanations of the sewers… one of my friends asked me about what part I was reading in Les Miz and when I told him I was reading about the Parisian sewer system, he didn’t believe me. Despite the history lessons and the fact that I know more about the sewers of Paris than I would like, I still love the book. It’s packed with great characters and a great story. I also love that we get to know some characters that are kinda skimmed over in the musical

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      7. The history lessons did slow some time. One time I took about four to five days off from reading the book that summer. That was when I was in Chicago and due to the bulkiness of the book wasn’t to pack it

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      8. Yeah, that one is no good to pack for a trip; it takes up so much luggage space. I took it with me to Japan because I needed to have something to do but man, it took up a lot of my carry-on storage. Really glad that I took it with me though. I agree that it’s the sort of book one has to take breaks from while reading otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming

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      9. I do remember when I got back from Chicago, I only could read four pages. Those four pages were Eponine’s death scene as a matter of fact. Each time after I read a character’s death, it is time to put the book for the day

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      10. Definitely. It gives you time to recover before hitting you with a pile of bricks again. I remember when I read the book I was more angry than sad when Fantine died whereas in the musical, I was sad more than anything else

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      11. It drove me nuts that right after Fantine died, the book went straight into the longest history lesson part ever, which was Battle of Waterloo. After the second death, it feels like the deaths are constantly showing up

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      12. Ah, yes. The Battle of Waterloo. I love French History but… The Battle of Waterloo never interested me for whatever reason. Yeah, after Ép, those deaths deem to be relentlessly piled on. Then there’s a brief break

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      13. Right after Eponine, it feels like the main uprising is immediately after her death. Why did all the best characters have to die? While reading the book, I was never reduced to tears, but was fully aware of the enormous amount of emotions

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      14. Oh, man… I remember crying when Éponine died and again when Valjean died. Glad I wasn’t reading in the coffee shop that day because that’d have been pretty embarrassing. I guess that I had a silly hope that at least one of my favorites would survive.

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