Could Marvel Musicals Be The Next Big Thing On Broadway?
First of all, you have to ask yourself a vital question: would you, with the vast array of technical and visual gadgetry now available to prop builders, set builders and directors in the world of theatre, pay to go and see a Marvel-based play? If you're even a remote fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the answer is obviously yes.
In the wake of other franchises making a successful transition from screen to stage, most notably Harry Potter with The Cursed Child, Marvel seem to have finally clued on to that fact, and thus: Marvel Spotlight, the company's new project aimed at getting superhero stories featuring prominently in theatres, has taken shape.
Right now, Marvel Spotlight is geared primarily at youth drama groups. Marvel have officially licensed three stories, one based around Loki, and two introducing the characters of Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl respectively, for adaptation in play form. In fact, they've already enlisted the services of theatrical company Samuel French to bring them to life, which they've done with a series of youth-inspired stories.
Hammered, Loki and Thor's story, focuses on the two young gods as teenagers, playing pranks on each other as they clamour for their mother's attention, while the Ms Marvel play, which focuses on a teenage superhero anyway, takes place predominantly in a high school. The other, Squirrel Girl Goes To College, speaks for itself.
Even so, there's no doubt that this will probably be good for young aspiring actors, even if traditional drama teachers grapple with the concept of trying to adapt a Marvel story as opposed to the traditional musicals they normally favour. Plenty more kids, especially boys, will be wanting to play Thor or Loki as opposed to Oliver Twist or Zac Efron's character in High School Musical, and we suspect that more than a few adults will be more inclined to go watch as a result.
Marvel are also charging a relatively low amount to put the plays on. A teenage amateur drama group only has to pay $75 to run the performance for a night.
But it's hard to imagine Marvel setting up a theatrical arm aimed simply at super low-budget groups, and given the success of the one big-budget comic book play they have done – Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark grossed over $200 million on Broadway and featured music written by half of U2 – the temptation to bring some of the MCU's most popular characters to the theatre could prove too tempting to resist. Maybe, just maybe, The MCU will come to dominate Broadway as it has the movie scene in recent years.
For now though, we're just going to have to be content with our local school's production of Squirrel Girl Goes To College.