Classic Remarks: My Favorite Musical Based on a Classic Novel

I’ve been following the Classic Remarks series on Pages Unbound for a few weeks now, and as a lover of classic novels have really enjoyed reading the posts. But as a devotee of musicals as well I couldn’t NOT participate this week! The only problem? How to pick just one!!

My favorite Broadway musical of all time is Wicked, which is automatically eliminated as not being based on a “classic” novel. In fact, I think we can all agree that we would prefer for the book to get, um, forgotten. And Hamilton is based on a decidedly modern biography. But I LOVE Les Misérables, one of THE greatest musicals of all time, Phantom of the Opera, also based on a … classic-ish … novel, and Into the Woods which is based on fairy tales. But my favorite based on a classic novel is …

Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde isn’t a particularly well-known musical, having had a modest run of only four years and starring briefly David Hasselhoff. Advice, DON’T watch the Hasselhoff DVD, settle for the Original Cast Recording and pictures. *shudders*

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella by Robert Lewis Stevenson, and is actually quite different from the version we’ve seen on every TV show in history. I recommend it if you like moderately spooky romantic adventures. (Romantic as in the era, not a romance novel) The musical in terms of plot of only loosely based on the novel, adding lots of characters and drama. But I think I like the musical plot better? It’s more interesting, and there’s romance.

But the real reason this show is so great is the MUSIC. It’s entertaining and full of great sounds, but it’s also soulful and moving. The lyrics connect you with the characters, and the actors have AMAZING voices. Linda Eder is one of the greats of modern Broadway, and Robert Cuccioli is so good it makes me want to faint. I’m leaving a video of one of my favorite songs for your sampling pleasure.

If you’re into Broadway and you’re not familiar with this musical, do yourself a favor and head over to Spotify or YouTube or iTunes or wherever you get your music and spend an hour listening. You won’t be disappointed.

If you like classic adventure novels, you could probably knock out The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in an afternoon. It’s no Dracula, but I think it’s a fun read anyway. 🙂


Thanks to Briana and Krysta at Pages Unbound for hosting. Krysta picked Les Mis, and who can blame her? Can’t wait to start participating weekly. 🙂

For more about musicals and books, I wrote a post with my top 5 here. Do you have a favorite musical based on a classic novel?

17 thoughts on “Classic Remarks: My Favorite Musical Based on a Classic Novel

  1. Yes, Les Misérables.

    Wicked and Les Mis are basically tied for my favorite musical. It is the combo of them both that made me the musical fan I am today.

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    1. I think they’re two of the earliest I got into as well. Definitely Wicked was first, but then maybe Dirty Rotten Scoundrels second… Still, Les Mis was in the early years, so it’s very influential to my musical tastes. I love how its essentially an opera but with more contemporary music.

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      1. I got into Wicked early- in middle school, but Les Mis did not enter my life till 2013- which was my first year of college.

        They still made me the musical fan I am today

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  2. I have a friend who really loved Jekyll and Hyde, but I must admit I’m not very familiar with it! Perhaps it’s time to fix that! Thanks for participating this week!

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        1. Haha, I can’t say I had much musical talent either. Mostly I just worked my butt off to very little success. I don’t still teach music, and it’s not a big part of my life anymore, unfortunately.

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    1. See, I have seen very few musicals. I always discover them by listening to the cast recordings, usually a bunch of times because you can never figure something like that out without visuals on the first try. If I *really* need more info I’ll go to the musical’s wikipedia page to follow a plot summary as I’m listening. But usually a good chunk of the musical is in the music, so I’m able to piece them together pretty well with just music. Obviously seeing the musical would be better but, well, we can’t all live in New York City.

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      1. I just have such a hard time following without seeing anything; I’m always impressed when other people do it! I wish they’d do more musicals like Hamilton and make a widely available filming of the show available. I think I’d also like that better than when they try to do actual movies of musicals, though it depends how they adapt it, I guess.

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        1. I also prefer to watch the musicals on DVD when possible. It irks me that nobody has ever published a video recording of Spring Awakening, because I still only kind of know what happens. I’m sure an original cast recording exists somewhere, even if the quality isn’t great.

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  3. I read this a few years ago, but I really did not care for it. I remembered enjoying ‘Treasure Island’ when I was a kid, so I went back and read it again. ‘Treasure Island’ stands the test of time! I still love it. I do like the pop culture version of the Jeckyl/Hyde story, though.

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    1. I think I prefer the pop culture version of the story more too. And the musical definitely mirrors pop culture more than the actual novella. I enjoyed Stevenson’s novella though! It was kind of like an episode of Dr. Who or The Twilight Zone.

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