Video Roundup: When pop goes the stage

In the annual UnCovered concert at Acting Up Stage, we take beloved pop and rock music and transform it into something straight out of Sondheim or Gershwin. Of course, we aren’t the first to discover the connection between what we hear on the radio and what we hear on the stage - there’s a whole musical theatre genre consisting of shows that find intricate storylines within the works of famous pop and rock artists (and we’re not talking jukebox musicals - that’s a whole other blog post).

In celebration of this year’s UnCovered: Billy Joel & Elton John, here’s a list of some pop-inspired Broadway musicals. Have more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

Movin’ Out

Speak of the devil - dance genius Twyla Tharp already mined the music of Billy Joel to create this “rock ballet” about five friends (Brenda, Eddie, James, Judy, and Tony) during the Vietnam War era in America. We have to say, she made a good choice in Joel’s songlist. (PS - Alberta Ballet also made a ballet inspired by the music of Elton John entitled Love Lies Bleeding!)

Mamma Mia

Now this is the big one - the music of ABBA telling the story of a young girl in the Greek islands trying to find her birth father out of three possible candidates, so she can be walked down the aisle at her wedding. Who knew?

Good Vibrations

Using the timeless songs of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys - a whopping 30 of them - Good Vibrations spins the not-unheard of tale of three high school boys ready for fun and sun on the beach, when romance hits them unexpectedly. Sound like fun, fun, fun?

All Shook Up

How about this American Thanksgiving special eh? Giving us all the hits. Anyway, All Shook Up brings us the hits of the King himself - Elvis Presley - in the musical that’s also a riff on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Now that’s a combination you don’t see every day.

American Idiot

Based on Greed Day’s concept album of the same name, American Idiot is about three friends from a small suburban town who struggle to break out of that world through drugs and war. Spoiler - it doesn’t go well for them. (Fun fact - UnCovered performer Jake Epstein played Will in the US tour production!)

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