Great Scott! A ‘Back to the Future’ Musical is In the Works
So it has come to this: 2015 will see not only the 30th anniversary of ‘Back to the Future,’ but a stage musical adaptation that will premiere in London’s West End with an eye towards a Broadway debut in 2016. This is no cheap knock-off either. This version of the enormously popular film has several of the original’s key players heavily involved in the production.
Original co-writer/director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale are fully on board, writing the script with Jamie Lloyd (who will also direct the show). Composer Alan Silvestri will return to transform his iconic score into something a little more ballad-friendly while Glen Ballard will provide the lyrics. In other words, ‘Back to the Future: The Musical’ doesn’t just have the blessing of its original creators, it has their full involvement.
Although the thought of another beloved movie being made into a musical makes us feel a little ill (pretty soon every musical will be based on a popular film), ‘Back to the Future’ actually feels ripe for a all-singing, all-dancing reinterpretation. After all, amateur time traveler Marty McFly is a musician and several major sequences in the film focus on him being pretty capable of shredding a guitar (see: the Enchantment Under the Sea dance).
If the film remains set in the ’80s and ’50s, the songs could have a lot of fun playing with the tropes of those decades, with early songs have a synth-heavy, period-appropriate vibe while the numbers set in the past being classic rock ‘n roll. Heck, other than a handful of special effects scenes, the bulk of the original ‘Back to the Future’ is a fairly traditional comedy, so the leap to the stage actually shouldn’t be too difficult.
Still, if they are going to make a ‘Back to the Future’ musical, we hope they actually try something new. The original film is a classic and one of the best films of the ’80s, but what good is the exact same story taking place on stage? If they actually want to get us excited, they need to change things up and make it a fresh experience. You know, take a risk. But you don’t make a musical version of a popular brand if risk-taking is what you’re after, so we won’t hold our breath.
In any case, a musical doesn’t terrify us quite as much as the inevitable remake, which should be announced in around, oh, 2016 or so.