Favorite musical adaptations of Shakespeare?

The Lion King.

More seriously, I am not, as a general rule, a big fan of musicals. I try to go on a semi-regular basis, so I at least am critiquing from knowledge, but I don’t tend to enjoy them…with the exception of Sondheim. Merrily We Roll Along was revived in London a few years back, and was simply GORGEOUS, and I’m seeing Follies at the NT later in the year. My Fair Lady is also a lot of fun.

But man oh man do I hate Wicked – and the Book of Mormon has a fantastic opening song and then gradually goes downhill (it didn’t help, I admit, that I saw the Book of Mormon a week after I’d been to Uganda, meaning the assumptions the show makes about Africa REALLY stood out to me). And I went to The Commitments a while back, which…because it’s a musical, strips almost all of the political context out of the story…there’s a REASON all those Dublin kids identify with soul and the struggles of African-Americans. (It made me kind of uncomfortable, because once you strip the politics – just how GRIM a place Dublin/Ireland was in the 80s – out of the story, it becomes a group of white people copying black people’s music…GREAT music too, which kind of makes it worse).

I am seeing the London production of Hamilton in April…though I must admit, I’m trying not to hear too much about it, as the feverish praise has almost prejudiced me against it (I’m sure I’ll love it – everyone else seems to – I just wish people would stop TELLING me so).

More seriously, I’ve never seen West Side Story in performance, so don’t know what I think of it – and I HAVE seen Kiss Me Kate, but…updating the story of the Shrew to the 1930s did not noticeably improve the gender dynamics, and it’s not a play I like much anyway.

Kenneth Branagh’s film of Love’s Labour’s Lost turns it into a musical, which is a lot of fun (it’s quite a slight play to begin with of course). And how Adrian Lester didn’t become a huge star after it, I don’t know (well, I do know, it just sucks) – he can sing, he can dance, he’s objectively beautiful and incredibly charming. He was also a pretty good Othello, though it wasn’t a production of the play I loved, and his performance in Red Velvet was amazing (a wonderful play if you ever get a chance to see it – how a filmmaker didn’t snatch it up, I don’t know, because it’s a great story).