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Video Round-Up: Musicals based on Classic Novels

ONEGIN opens in FOUR WEEKS! Do you have your tickets yet? 

We are thrilled to present this beautiful new Canadian musical based on Alexander Pushkin’s timeline novel, Eugene Onegin.

To get an idea what to expect from ONEGIN, we had a look at other modern musicals based on classic literary sources. Did you know that 183 MUSICALS ARE BASED OFF OF LITERARY SOURCES? We couldn’t list them all so below are some of the greats.

p.s – These are novels from before 1920, there are so, so many fantastic musicals based on modern text (RagtimeHamilton, Wicked) but I’ll have to save that list for another blog post. 

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Based on the novelIsrael Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman
First Published:
Broadway Debut: November 2013
Awards:  The Broadway production won four Tonys at the 68th Tony Awards in June 2014, including Best Musical.


Les Misérables

Based on the novel:  Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
First Published:
Broadway Debut: 1987 (1985 on the West End)
Awards:  The Broadway production won eight Tonys including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score.


Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Based on the novel:   War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
First Published: 
Broadway Debut: 
November 2016
Originally performed in 2013 starring Phillipa Soo, it was nominated for 5 Drama Desk Awards and 9 Lucille Lortel Awards (winning 3). We’ll see how Great Comet stacks up with the crazy season we’re having.

Little Women

Based on the novel:   Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
First Published: 
1868 & 1869 (released in two parts)
Broadway Debut: 
January 2005
Awards: Although not critically successful on Broadway (running only 137 performances on Broadway) Litte Women has had great regional success, playing across the world in both professional and community productions. 


Based on the novel:   Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
First Published:  First published as a serial 1837–39
Broadway Debut: 1962 (1960 on the West End)
Awards: Oliver! was nominated for nine Tony Awards winning three, including Best Original Score.


The Secret Garden

Based on the novel:   The Secret Garden, by  Frances Hodgson Burnett
First Published:  1911
Broadway Debut: January 1991
Awards: Oliver! was nominated for six Tony Awards winning three, including Best Book. Daisy Eagan (age 11) won the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, she is the youngest female to win a Tony to date. Check out her adorable Tony speech here.

The Phantom of the Opera

Based on the novel:   Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, by Gaston Leroux
First Published:  First published as a serialisation in Le Gaulois (French daily paper) from September 23, 1909, to January 8, 1910.
Broadway Debut: 1988 (1986 on theWest End)
Awards: The Phantom of the Opera was nominated for ten Tony Awards winning seven, including Best Musical. It is the longest-running show in Broadway history by a wide margin, and celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance on 11 February 2012, the first production ever to do so

*Special Mentions – Paul Gordon Musicals
Paul Gordon has made a career from adapting classic novels into musical theatre. Credits include:

Jane Eyre

Based on the novel: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
First Published:
Broadway Debut: 2000
Awards: Jane Eyre was nominated for five Tony Awards, and won 1 Drama Desk Award. 

Emma – A Musical Romantic Comedy

Based on the novel: Emma, by Jane Austen
First Published:
Hear Brian D’arcy James singing the title song here

Daddy Long Legs

Based on the novel: Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster
First Published:
Daddy Long Legs opened last year Off-Broadway starring Megan McInnis and Paul Alexander Nolan. Listen to the recording here.

Sense & Sensibility

Based on the novel: Sense & Sensibility, by Jane Eyre
First Published:
Listen to a preview of the new musical here

Join us for ONEGIN, a New Canadian Musical adaptation of Pushkin’s timeless poem & Tchaikovsky’s renowned opera. Tickets on sale now!