90+ Musicals Based on Books to Add to Your “To-Read” List

Due to life events, finances, location, or lack of time, live theatre isn’t always available to us. But the good news is that there are also tons of amazing musical-related books and novels that we can enjoy in the meantime. Here’s a full list of musicals based on books, along with links to the exact books they’re based on.

If a musical is based on a book that’s hard to find/out of print (like All American), I chose to leave it off the list. Other musicals that have been left off of the list are ones based on an entire series of books (like Junie B. Jones) or ones that are based on both a book and a film (like Shrek). Happy reading!


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Jazz Age Musicals (1920-1939)

A Connecticut Yankee

Book It’s Based On: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Courtby Mark Twain

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Porgy and Bess

Book It’s Based On: Porgy, by DuBose Heyward

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Show Boat

Book It’s Based On: Show Boatby Edna Ferber

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Golden Age Musicals (1940-1959)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Book It’s Based On: A Tree Grows in Brooklynby Betty Smith

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Candide

Book It’s Based On: Candideby Voltaire

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Damn Yankees

Book It’s Based On: The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, by Douglass Wallop

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First Impressions

Book It’s Based On: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

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Flower Drum Song

Book It’s Based On: The Flower Drum Song, by C.Y. Lee

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Book It’s Based On: Gentlemen Prefer Blondesby Anita Loos

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Lost in the Stars

Book It’s Based On: Cry, the Beloved Countryby Alan Paton

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Pal Joey

Book It’s Based On: Pal Joeyby John O’Hara

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Pipe Dream

Book It’s Based On: Sweet Thursday, by John Steinbeck

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Saratoga

Book It’s Based On: Saratoga Trunkby Edna Ferber

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The King and I

Book It’s Based On: Anna and the King of Siam, by Margaret Landon

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The Pajama Game

Book It’s Based On: 7 1/2 Centsby Richard Bissell

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Post-Golden Age Musicals (1960s)

Anne of Green Gables

Book It’s Based On: Anne of Green Gablesby Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Camelot

Book It’s Based On: The Once and Future King, by T.H. White

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Christine

Book It’s Based On: My Indian Familyby Hilda Wernher

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Darling of the Day

Book It’s Based On: Buried Aliveby Arnold Bennett

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Fiddler on the Roof

Book It’s Based On: Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories, by Sholem Aleichem

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Greenwillow

Book It’s Based On: Greenwillowby B.J. Chute

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Half a Sixpence

Book It’s Based On: Kippsby H.G. Wells

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Book It’s Based On: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, by Shepherd Mead

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I Can Get It for You Wholesale

Book It’s Based On: I Can Get It for You Wholesale, by Jerome Weidman

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Little Me

Book It’s Based On: Little Me, by Patrick Dennis

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Mame

Book It’s Based On: Auntie Mame, by Patrick Dennis

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Oliver!

Book It’s Based On: Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens

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Seventeen

Book It’s Based On: Seventeenby Booth Tarkington

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What Makes Sammy Run?

Book It’s Based On: What Makes Sammy Run?by Budd Schulberg

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Zorba

Book It’s Based On: Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis

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1970s Musicals

The Robber Bridegroom

Book It’s Based On: The Robber Bridegroomby Eudora Welty

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The Rothschilds

Book It’s Based On: The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait, by Frederic Morton

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The Wiz

Book It’s Based On: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

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Working

Book It’s Based On: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day, by Studs Terkel

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1980s Musicals

42nd Street

Book It’s Based On: 42nd Streetby Bradford Ropes

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Big River

Book It’s Based On: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

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Carrie

Book It’s Based On: Carrie, by Stephen King

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Into the Woods

Book It’s Based On: The Uses of Enchantment, by Bruno Bettelheim

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Is There Life After High School?

Book It’s Based On: Is There Life After High School?by Ralph Keyes

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Just So

Book It’s Based On: Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling

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Les Misérables

Book It’s Based On: Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo

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The Human Comedy

Book It’s Based On: The Human Comedyby William Saroyan

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Book It’s Based On: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens

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The Phantom of the Opera

Book It’s Based On: The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux

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The Tap Dance Kid

Book It’s Based On: Nobody’s Family is Going to Change, by Louise Fitzhugh

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1990s Musicals

A Christmas Carol

Book It’s Based On: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

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Jane Eyre

Book It’s Based On: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

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Jekyll & Hyde

Book It’s Based On: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kiss of the Spider Woman

Book It’s Based On: Kiss of the Spider Woman, by Manuel Puig

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Book It’s Based On: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss

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Moll Flanders

Book It’s Based On: Moll Flandersby Daniel Defoe

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Once on This Island

Book It’s Based On: My Love, My Love; or The Peasant Girl, by Rosa Guy

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Phantom

Book It’s Based On: The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux

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Ragtime

Book It’s Based On: Ragtimeby E.L. Doctorow

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The Scarlet Pimpernel

Book It’s Based On: The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

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The Secret Garden

Book It’s Based On: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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2000s Musicals

A Little Princess

Book It’s Based On: A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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A Tale of Two Cities

Book It’s Based On: A Tale of Two Citiesby Charles Dickens

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Captain Louie

Book It’s Based On: The Tripby Jack Keats

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Daddy Long Legs

Book It’s Based On: Daddy-Long-Legs, by Jean Webster

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Dessa Rose

Book It’s Based On: Dessa Roseby Sherley A Williams

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Dracula

Book It’s Based On: Dracula, by Bram Stoker

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Giant

Book It’s Based On: Giantby Edna Ferber

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High Fidelity

Book It’s Based On: High Fidelityby Nick Hornby

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I Love You Because

Book It’s Based On: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

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Little Women

Book It’s Based On: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

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Marguerite

Book It’s Based On: La Dame aux Caméliasby Alexandre Dumas fils

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The Count of Monte Cristo

Book It’s Based On: The Count of Monte Cristoby Alexandre Dumas

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The Glorious Ones

Book It’s Based On: The Glorious Onesby Francine Prose

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The Light in the Piazza

Book It’s Based On: The Light in the Piazza, by Elizabeth Spencer

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The Lord of the Rings

Book It’s Based On: The Lord of the Ringsby J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Pirate Queen

Book It’s Based On: Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas, by Morgan Llywelyn

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The Witches of Eastwick

Book It’s Based On: The Witches of Eastwickby John Updike

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The Woman in White

Book It’s Based On: The Woman in Whiteby Wilkie Collins

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Wicked

Book It’s Based On: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire

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Zorro

Book It’s Based On: Zorroby Isabel Allende

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2010s Musicals

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Book It’s Based On: Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal, by Roy Horniman

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Alice by Heart

Book It’s Based On: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

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American Psycho

Book It’s Based On: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Book It’s Based On: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

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Doctor Zhivago

Book It’s Based On: Doctor Zhivagoby Boris Pasternak

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Emma: A Pop Musical

Book It’s Based On: Emma, by Jane Austen

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Flowers for Mrs. Harris

Book It’s Based On: Mrs. Harris Goes to Parisby Paul Gallico

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Freckleface Strawberry

Book It’s Based On: Freckleface Strawberryby Julianne Moore

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From Here to Eternity

Book It’s Based On: From Here to Eternityby James Jones

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Goosebumps

Book It’s Based On: Goosebumps: Phantom of the Auditoriumby R.L. Stine

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James and the Giant Peach

Book It’s Based On: James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

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Lazarus

Book It’s Based On: The Man Who Fell to Earth, by Walter Tevis

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Matilda

Book It’s Based On: Matilda, by Roald Dahl

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Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Book It’s Based On: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

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Ragtime

Book It’s Based On: Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow

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The Bridges of Madison County

Book It’s Based On: The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

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The Lightning Thief

Book It’s Based On: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4

Book It’s Based On: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾by Sue Townsend

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The Wind in the Willows

Book It’s Based On: The Wind in the Willowsby Kenneth Grahame

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Tuck Everlasting

Book It’s Based On: Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit

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Do you know of any other great musicals based on books?

Or have you read any of the musicals based on novels above? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, author of Musicals Based on Books.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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