Animal House: The Musical in the pipeline

National Lampoon's Animal HouseIt appears the West End and Broadway are as fresh out of ideas as remake-ridden contemporary Hollywood these days. Following in the wake of screen-to-stage adaptations of popular tear-jerkers Ghost and Dirty Dancing for the ladies, and animated films Shrek, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast for the kiddies, producers Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel are attempting to corner the lads’ market with a theatrical, musical version of National Lampoon’s Animal House.

The American Pie of its day, John Landis’s 1978 comedy hit was a mad frat-house romp whose cast boasted such comic luminaries as John Belushi and Tom Hulce, and notably launched the careers of Kevin Bacon and Indiana Jones’s missus, Karen Allen. This isn’t the first comedy film to be adapted for the stage, with chick-flick Legally Blonde and Monty Python’s cult Spamalot already having played to packed houses, but it’s certainly a departure from the tried-and-true fare currently gracing the West End. While the traditional audiences for romantic movies may provide a natural market for musicals, the sort of lads who loved Boon and Diller first time round may prove a harder sell.

Universal Pictures Stage Productions announced its production partnership with Richards and Frankel on Monday. The show is to be scripted by playwright Michael Mitnick and the songs composed by alternative rockers the Barenaked Ladies. It’s unclear how much of the original screenplay (by the immortal Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller) will be retained, but with any luck John “Bluto” Blutarski will still manage to gross his way into the hearts of a whole new generation.

About The Author

Katherine hails from South Africa, where she subsidised her uncompleted Masters in Film Studies by trying to persuade students there was more to film than the oeuvre of Steven Spielberg. Her portfolio of film criticism includes film column “The Maguffin” for iafrica.com (where the controversial “What Could a Nice Girl Like Me Have Against Forrest Gump?” caused quite a stir), a year as DVD Review editor for FHM and a lifetime of utter, unrelenting geekdom. Passionate about film in its many forms, she has a particular fondness for the Marx Brothers and David Cronenberg, and a DVD collection that takes up half her lounge.

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