The screen-to-stage adaptation has grown more common than the reverse: of the 56 musicals nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical since 2000, 22 are based on films, with winners including “The Producers,” “Hairspray,” and last year’s “Kinky Boots.” But this year marks an especially memorable adaptation, with Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” hitting the stage.
To celebrate this, Film Society of Lincoln Center will screen Allen’s 1994 film version for one night only in a presentation titled “From Stage to Screen: Bullets Over Broadway.”
The film tells the story of idealistic/egotistical playwright David Shayne (John Cusack as a pretty good Woody surrogate) who agrees to cast a gangster’s moll, Olive (Jennifer Tilly), in a significant role in order to finance his new play. Olive is escorted by Cheech (Chazz Palmintieri), who turns out to be a writing genius who constantly revises and improves Shayne’s play. Meanwhile, Shayne embarks on an affair with the diva-ish, alcoholic leading lady (Dianne Wiest) and deals with Olive’s incompetence as an actress.
Wiest won her second Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the film, while the film received an additional 6 nominations including Director, Screenplay (for Allen and co-writer Douglas McGrath), Supporting Actor (Palmintieri), and Supporting Actress (Tilly).
The musical, which made its debut on April 10, was adapted by Allen, and stars Zach Braff in the Cusack role. The music is taken from the American Songbook, including “Running Wild” and “Let’s Misbehave.”
The screening will include a discussion with director and choreographer Susan Stroman as well as producers Letty Aronson and Julian Schossberg, to be moderated by New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones. The conversation will focus on the creative process of turning a movie into a musical and will be followed by a reception in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery.
The screening will take place on Monday, May 5th at 6:30pm at the Walter Reade Theater. Tickets go on sale today. Admission is $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Go here for more information.