Forget ‘Hard Body’: Here Are Six Documentaries That Would Make Great Broadway Musicals

S. R. Bindler’s 1997 documentary Hands on a Hard Body became a cult favorite, and its depiction of the desperation attached to striving for the American Dream is still poignant and relevant sixteen years later. Naturally, the movie has become a Broadway musical, with a book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright and music and lyrics by Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio. (Yes, that Trey Anastasio.) The musical is surprisingly watchable, featuring stellar performances and enjoyable songs that come as close to anything you might catch on a pop-country radio station. But it did make me think: what are some other musicals that could be turned into Broadway musicals? 

Click through to see my top six choices!

Jesus Camp

The Broadway community loves singing kids, and how else could you get a musical about lovin’ Jesus produced on Broadway? Fill it with a rock score like in Jesus Christ Superstar or make it goofy and weird like Godspell, but you’d definitely have New York audiences swaying with devotion by the curtain call.

Buena Vista Social Club

This is almost too easy. The music is already there for the taking! This would be quite a groovy little jukebox musical.

Capturing the Friedmans

On the plus side: fun ’70s costumes! The downside: a signing pedophile. 


A musical about wheelchair-bound rugby players? Call Andrew Lloyd Webber, because we’ve got a new Starlight Express on our hands.

Winged Migration

Combining the amazing puppetry in The Lion King and the death-defying flying effects in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark would be a great way for Julie Taymor to say "fuck you" to all of her critics.

Grizzly Man

I know a real bear is out of the question, but it’d definitely be a good marketing tool considering the press surrounding the cat in the recent production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I think you’d need it, since this one would have a really dark finale. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

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