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These Books Have Become Broadway Musicals: ‘The Outsiders,’ ‘The Great Gatsby’ and More

12 Novels That Have Since Been Adapted Into Broadway Musicals
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Before becoming musicals, they were books.

Broadway has taken inspiration from several novels, turning them into musical favorites over the years. The biggest surprise might have come when Angelina Jolie became a major champion for The Outsiders musical, helping to bring Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Broadway as a producer.

“I feel so strongly about this material and this creative team. It’s been a privilege to be a part of the process,” Jolie told People in April 2024 about working on the show. “I have so much respect for Broadway and all who work within.”

The actress also worked alongside her daughter Vivienne, who is a production assistant on the musical. Jolie gushed over what she was able to learn about the teen, who “connected so deeply” to The Outsiders.

Brody Grant Makes His Broadway Debut in The Outsiders Musical

Related: Who Is Tony Nominee Brody Grant? Meet Broadway's Ponyboy Curtis

“It was a very different experience of understanding, of how this is having a significant effect on her as a young person right now, and she’s communicating something to me,” she told Deadline in June 2024. “That is the power of this material, which was in really good shape even by then. And then I had the privilege of watching everyone work over this last year to make it into what it is, and Vivienne has been there the whole way.”

Keep scrolling to see 13 books that have been turned into musicals over the years:

‘The Outsiders’

12 Novels That Have Since Been Adapted Into Broadway Musicals
Signage at the new musical based on the classic book “The Outsiders” on Broadway. Bruce Glikas/WireImage/Getty Images

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, published in 1967, made its Broadway debut in 2024.

‘The Great Gatsby’

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925 but became not one, but two musicals in 2024. A production made its way to Broadway, with a separate show titled Gatsby: An American Myth likely following suit.

‘The Color Purple’

Originally, The Color Purple novel by Alice Walker was published in 1982. The show made its Broadway debut in 2005.

‘Les Miserables’

Victor Hugo’s French novel was published in 1982. While it’s had many iterations over the years, Les Mis opened on the Broadway stage in 1987.


12 Novels That Have Since Been Adapted Into Broadway Musicals
Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Before it was “Popular” as a musical — which made its Broadway debut in 2003 — the story was a book titled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, published by Gregory Maguire in 1995.


The Roald Dahl classic book of the same name was published in 1988. It was adapted into a musical decades later, making its Broadway debut in 2013.

‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’

The How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying musical made its Broadway debut in 1961. The stage show was based on the 1952 book of the same name by Shepherd Mead.

‘Guys and Dolls’

Two 1933 short stories by Damon RunyonThe Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown and Blood Pressure — were the inspiration for this musical. Guys and Dolls made its Broadway debut in 1950.


Yes, a musical based on the 1974 Stephen King novel did hit the Broadway stage in 1988.

‘The King and I’

The 1944 Margaret Landon novel Anna and the King of Siam was the inspiration for this musical. The King and I first appeared on Broadway in 1951.

‘The Wiz’

The Wiz was first on Broadway in 1997 as a retelling of the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

‘The Secret Garden’

Frances Hodgson Burnett first published The Secret Garden novel in 1911. The book officially became a Broadway show in 1991.

‘Water for Elephants’

Water for Elephants opened on Broadway in 2024, based on the 2006 book of the same name by Sara Gruen.

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