Theater Thursday: From the Abbey to the Stage – TV Musical Adaptations That Would Be Cool

Recently, you might have heard a bit in the forests of the internets that Downton Abbey, the  popular BBC drama about an upper-crust British family in the 1920’s, might become a stage show. Granted, the specifics of said production have flip-flopped between it being an arena show or a theater production, but regardless it is something that will, in its basic form, be a musical. And thus, the question must be asked, what other TV shows should be translated to the stage? Though there will be disagreements, here are some series that deserve to get the musical treatment.



Though Season 2 has not yet ended, the emotional rollercoaster of Salem definitely has enough drama to lend itself into the musical form. The show revolves around Mary and John, two young lovers who seemed to be split by fate, a journey that changes them into enemies. Mary is transformed, through unfortunate circumstances, into a witch, and John, a witch hunter. With the tension between these two, plus the ultra romantic chaos of the other relationships in the shows, along with the setting and opportunities for epic costumes, Salem has got musical possibilities written all over it. If you’ll excuse me, I need a blanket to put on after thinking about Mercy getting her own chilling solo number.



If there is any current TV series that could translate to the stage with complete ease, Outlander would be itFrom the romantic setting and the time travel, to the complex relationship of Jamie and Claire, Outlander has so much going for it that is just completely theatrical. Heck, the franchise already has a concept musical written about it, why not bring it to the stage? Personally, I’d love to see series composer Bear McCreary work on it, if this ever did come true. From the opening theme to the smallest of ques, McCeary gets the sound of Outlander and would probably be a fantastic person to be part of musical theater, if given the chance.

Freaks and Geeks

With nostalgic properties like Heathers and Happy Days getting musicals, I can’t help but think the cult-loved Freaks and Geeks could fit right in there. It could help flesh out the characters that didn’t get a proper ending in its one season time span, and also provide another comedic, slightly angsty teen musical for theater kids to eat up like crazy. I could easily see songwriters Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, who just won a Tony for Fun Home, write some upbeat and yet angst-filled pieces for this show. And as long as there is a homecoming dance scene, along with an entire song devoted to how angry Kim is on a daily basis, I will be pleased.

My So Called Life


Similar to Freaks and Geeks, I adore My So-Called Life, and also think it has the potential for musical brilliance. First off, you have a dysfunctional family, lead by an angst-filled 90’s teen, who has a crush and has two best friends: one drug addicted, and the other gay–HOW MORE THEATRICAL CAN YOU GET?! Add the drama from Angela’s love life, her parents insane off-again, on-again relationship, and awkwardness that is Brian, and you have a recipe for theater domination. The songwriting team behind Next to Normal  (Yorkey and Kitt) would be the best choice to work on this, since they clearly get how to write the perfect songs for teen angst and family issues. Please, cast some cool unknowns in the roles, and this could become a musical classic.

Those are just a few ideas. But now I want to know–which TV shows do you want to see musicals of? What do you think of the Downton Abbey news? Do you want to see Mary and Matthew’s love story on the stage? Tell us all your Theater Thursday feely feels in the comment section below.

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