Magic Mike vs. Berry Gordy vs. Ginger Spice: Which of This Week’s Rumored Musicals Should Actually Happen?

It’s been quite a week for fans of announcements about arguably ill-advised musicals adapted from pre-existing pop-cultural properties! In the last few days, we’ve gotten word on a string of interesting shows in various stages of development. That includes all-singing all-dancing adaptations of:

  • The upcoming male-stripper epic, Magic Mike
  • The history of Motown, its legendary artists, and its founder, Berry Gordy Jr.
  • The rich back catalog of the Spice Girls
  • The life and times of Cher

And right now the only question is — which of these deserve to die, and which of these deserve to live? Sadly, Grantland won’t have any kind of say in the final decisions. But let’s break it down anyway.

Magic Mike: The Musical

Loosely based on Channing Tatum’s brief run in an all-male revue, Magic Mike barrels into theaters this week on some seriously good vibes. Support is coming both from the ladies, who’ve been in the bag since that first butt-baring trailer hit, and the critics, now busy tripping over one another to bear-hug old friend Steven Soderbergh. Which means the red-carpet reveal of a Magic Mike musical actually seems pretty logical, especially after hearing its screenwriter, Reid Carolin, explain the details: “We are working on it as a Broadway show, which would be a different story … more of a romp, more of a fun night out at a club with a story. I’m almost more excited about that than the movie because I think it’s the perfect thing for women to go see on Broadway, to be participants in the show.” In other words: a Times Square strip club, just like the gritty old 1970s crackhead days, only this time for highbrow lady tourists from Iowa.
Should It Happen? Of course! That thing could make enough money to single-handedly restore the American economy.

Spice Girls

The Spice Girls reunited in London yesterday, at the fancy hotel in which their classic “Wannabe” video was shot, to make a big announcement. Opening this December will be a West End jukebox musical called Viva Forever, which will wrap the story of “four friends whose bond becomes strained when their band enters a TV talent show” around the music of the Girl Power ambassadors (yes, they have songs other than “Wannabe”). The show is written by Jennifer Saunders, of the cultishly beloved Absolutely Fabulous, which gives it some unexpected cred points. Oh, and since you were going to ask anyway: My favorite was Ginger Spice. Ginger Spice was my favorite.
Should It Happen? Sure, why not? Like, I saw Spice World on cable at 2 a.m. once, and, really, it wasn’t the worst thing ever.

Motown: The Musical

Berry Gordy is teaming up with Doug Morris, chairman of Sony Entertainment, to tell the story of Motown via a Broadway musical opening in 2013. The New York Times reports, “The book for the musical was written by Mr. Gordy himself. The story traces his rise in the music business from a struggling songwriter to successful record executive and cultural influence … the script also explores Mr. Gordy’s role shaping the careers of the singers and songwriters who invented the label’s signature sound: Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, among others. All are characters in the play.”
Should It Happen? A no-holds-barred biopic would be the favored route, as clearly the more salacious elements of the Motown story will be swept under the rug for the musical. That said — obviously there should be a Motown musical. Go forth, and good luck to you folks.


Billboard reports: “The musical would be divided into three segments, with three different actresses portraying her in various stages of her life … One actress would appear as Cher from her early years up through her time with her late ex-husband Sonny Bono. Another would pick up the story after that, and continue on through the ‘Believe’ era … Cher said that she could play the ‘old Cher’ in the show, a character that’s ‘wise’ and tells the younger versions of herself not to fear the future.” Hmm. Word. OK.
Should It Happen? Honestly? This one sounds terrible. But in the interest of inclusiveness — sure, yeah, whatever, Cher musical!

Filed Under: Magic Mike

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad