Brooke Horan Williams
Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Talks About What to Expect in Acting Classes

Acting school used to be one of those extraordinary educational experiences that only the elite in Hollywood ever pursued.  Today, the landscape has changed, and anybody who wants a chance at the big screen is going to acting school. Here, Brooke Horan Williams looks at what some of the acting schools are doing when it comes to creating professional actors. 

In the past, you didn’t have to go to school to get a job as an actor Brooke says.  Now, things have changed. “There’s a lot of competition out there,” she adds. “You need every advantage you can get.”  Going to acting classes increases that advantage. “We’ve already talked about why it’s important to get professional training,” she says.  “Now, let’s talk about what you can expect once you’re there.”

What will you learn in acting school that you can’t learn on your own?  Plenty, according to Brooke Horan Williams. “It’s a whole different world,” she says, “and it depends on what the school offers.”  Some schools offer bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) degrees, while others will give you just a certificate, she says. You can go to school for four years, or you can go for four weeks – it all depends on what you’re looking for.  Brooke says many of the top A-list actors in Hollywood have earned a bachelor’s degree for their craft and some have master’s degrees.  Even then, the competition is still fierce.

If you are one of the lucky ones who get accepted to acting school, here’s what you can expect.  First, be prepared to be nervous, Brooke says. It’s normal, but you’ll enjoy yourself soon enough.  As you go through it, you’ll be building skills as well as confidence. Confidence comes as you get better, she adds.  In fact, you’ll start with what you might perceive as silly games and group exercises. “Don’t judge,” she adds. “Just go with the flow.” 

You’ll have exercises in breathing, Brooke Horan Williams says.  “I’m talking about the breathing you need for acting where you learn to project your voice,” she adds.  “If it’s a 4-year degree, you’ll have other general classes, but in preparation for an acting career, you’ll have classes like public speaking and communication.” Then as you go further along, you’ll focus on the basics of creative drama, improvisation, camera techniques, scene preparation, dialogue and monologue, and auditioning techniques.  Advanced acting classes will go even deeper into the different methods actors use and a study of advanced acting philosophies. Some schools teach behind the camera basics as well as scriptwriting, so you can get an understanding of the part each person plays when creating a show.

Artistic expression is encouraged, she says, and most places have a pretty nurturing environment overall.  “My best advice is to do your research and talk to at least three different schools before signing up with any of them,” Brooke Horan Williams says. “They will be happy to answer questions about their school and the success of their students.  Also, do a background internet check on any school you’re considering. If you can talk with some of the graduates, that’s even better.”

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Talks About Stage Makeup vs. Screen Makeup

Unless you’re behind the camera or on stage, you probably tend don’t give a lot of thought to all the work that goes into creating just the right look for an actor. For centuries, Brooke Horan Williams says, special makeup for the stage is one of the primary ways an actor will relate to his audience. Here, Brooke Williams talks about the differences in makeup for the stage and screen and why it’s important to the performance, no matter where it is.

“There are several differences in the type of makeup and the way it’s applied,” Brooke Horan Williams says, “and it all depends on whether it’s for screen or for stage.” She explains that the idea of regular, everyday makeup is to cover imperfections without bringing attention to itself. “The natural look is in for everyday wear,” she adds.

As opposed to makeup for the stage which needs to be heavy, makeup for the screen is just the opposite, Brooke Horan Williams says. When working on a television or movie set, the camera zooms in much closer. “How it’s applied, therefore, must be a lot more natural looking.” She explains screen makeup needs to soften or even hide the imperfections without looking “made up.”

Stage makeup, on the other hand, might look pretty drastic in the mirror, she says, but on stage it makes you recognizable even from a distance. Makeup for stage needs to accentuate the actors’ features and is intended to be a part of their costume. It’s applied with a heavy hand while still looking tasteful, Brooke Horan Williams says. The reason it’s so heavy, she explains, is that it must be seen from every angle and sometimes from far away. She laughs as she continues, “there is no zoom feature on stage.”

Brooke Williams says a cream base is important for stage makeup. “It gets really hot under these lights,” she says, “so you want something that helps your skin breathe.” Cream-based foundations and blushes do this, she says, unlike oil-based makeup. Everything goes on a little heavier, she continues. “We like false eyelashes for depth and often outline the eyelid with a white pencil which tends to make the eye look bigger.” Our contouring is well-defined, she adds, because we don’t want the harsh lights to wash our actors out. The lip liner might go just outside the lips to make them appear larger.

For the screen, production sets like to use makeup that appears minimal, Brooke Horan Williams says, while doing a good job of covering up imperfections. Cameras can really accentuate wrinkles, so we keep that in mind when applying makeup on set, she adds. In addition, Brooke Williams says professional makeup artists will always use professional products that don’t reflect light. “We want the camera to focus on the actor, not the makeup,” she explains, “and it takes a real professional to do this just right for the screen.”

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Discusses Stage Presence for Actors – What it is and Why You Need it

We often hear the term “stage presence” when working with actors. But what does it really mean and why is it so important? Today, Brooke Horan Williams talks about what stage presence is and how you can make sure you have that “it factor” when performing.

Stage presence can really be defined as star power, says Brooke Horan Williams. “It’s charisma and charm that becomes an innate part of your performance,” she says. At the same time, it’s something that can be learned as you gain more skills and confidence she adds.

Stage presence isn’t just something for actors. Stage presence, she explains, is something that all performers need to have. For example, singers, musicians, and even magicians need to have stage presence, so it’s something that should be learned early on in your career, she adds.

But why is stage presence considered so vital to an actor’s career? One reason is that it enables the audience to connect more closely with the character you’re playing. It pulls the audience into the action and makes it much more believable, Brooke Horan Williams says. It’s not mandatory for each actor to have this for a play she adds, but it makes the performance so much more professional because it’s much more interesting for the audience.

Stage presence is something that’s taught in acting school, Brooke Williams continues. One way to make sure you’ll develop stage presence is to start with good acting skills. “You can’t have good stage presence without it,” she says, as this is part of developing your persona on stage. “However, if you’re already taking acting lessons, there are a few tips she suggests to really develop and fine-tune how the audience sees you.

First, Brook Horan Williams says, to ensure that you develop a good stage presence, you need to get to know your character intimately. Brooke recommends the exercise of really getting inside your character’s skin and imagining what that character feels like. A key concept here is to know what your character wants she adds. “Everybody wants something,” Brooke says. “Once you figure out what your character’s needs and wants are, you’re more likely to portray them in a realistic manner.”

Portraying an accurate character in a realistic manner is more than just having good acting skills, says Brooke Horan Williams, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. “A lot of it comes down to confidence,” she says, “and confidence is what helps make your character believable.”

Brooke recommends exercises to learn what motivates your character and understand their quirks, their beliefs, and their fears. One of her suggestions is to write your character’s traits down on paper, so that you can start to fully understand how she thinks. “Once you know who your character really is, you can start to imagine that character in different circumstances. In other words, how does she feel when she’s disappointed or scared?” Brooke suggests going through an entire list of emotions and imagining your character in all those different scenarios. “Only by doing this,” she adds, “will you start to develop the skills and the confidence needed to create a memorable stage presence.”

Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, she starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage. After graduating from college, Brooke began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke’s love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Discusses Ways to Get Your Child into the Acting Industry

If you’re like most kids, you’ve daydreamed about being the one up there on the big screen. With so much attention focused just on you, acting seems like a dream come true for most. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached,” Brooke begins. “All the moms I’ve dealt with want advice on how to get their kid into the industry.” Today, Brooke Horan Williams talks about some of the ways to get your child work as an actor.

Having your child be the star of the show might be a dream come true for some families. “It’s pretty hard work,” Brooke says. On a production set, the kids need to do everything adult actors do in addition to doing daily schoolwork. In the theater, it’s even harder since there are so many rehearsals and many production companies travel. “However, it’s not impossible,” she adds.,

Brooke Horan Williams says the first thing she’d recommend is to make sure this is something your child really wants to do. “Many times, it’s the parents who are trying to recreate their childhood,” she says. While it sounds like a lot of fun at first, this isn’t going to be sustainable in the long run for the child. “But if your kid is keen on the idea, has a tendency towards an extrovert personality, and loves to be in the spotlight; this might be something that you’d like to explore further,” she adds.

Probably one of the most famous companies for getting kids’ acting careers launched is Disney. Brooke Horan Williams says there are several things that Disney looks for when recruiting new talent for their channel. First and foremost, Brooke says, Disney looks for professionals. If you have the “triple threat” that producers are looking for, you’ll stand the best chance of getting an audition. These talents include acting, singing, and dancing, although “not all of these are mandatory to getting an audition,” she says. “However, if you’re experienced in performing and have these skills, it really helps.”

Brooke Horan Williams recommends beginning dancing lessons at an early age. “These could include jazz, tap, modern dance, or even ballet,” she says. “I’d say a combination of all of them is best.” It’s more important that your child feel comfortable in his skin, she adds. This is because dancing helps with movement, muscle training, rhythm, and other performance-based skills. The ability to sing helps as well. Brooke says that your child won’t have to be pitch-perfect; even the ability to carry a tune and perform it well will help immensely. Church choir and chorus classes in school can help with this skill. Talent contests can also help your child gain confidence and self-esteem if they’re good, she adds.

Acting lessons are probably the biggest thing you’ll need to do, Brooke says. Whether it’s private acting lessons or drama class in school, just getting out there and performing will make a huge difference. Brooke Horan Williams says to have your child join acting clubs if possible, she says. “Anywhere he’ll have a chance to perform will help your child strengthen his skills.”

While your child is working on his skills, you, as a parent, should be doing your part, such as getting your child the best headshots money can buy and helping them create a good resume. “This is where a talent agent can help,” Brooke says. “Good agents have connections that normal people don’t know about.” She suggests finding agencies that already work with Disney stars* which will help you get your foot in the door when your child is ready.

“You’ll also need to be ready to move to the big city,” she adds, “but it’s not really necessary unless your child is hired.” Brooke says keeping that in the back of your mind will help to be ready when and if that day comes. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she says. “There’s a lot of competition out there, and they’re looking for new talent all the time, so don’t give up.”

Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, she starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage.
After graduating from college, Brooke began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke Horan Williams’ love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.

finding agencies that already work with Disney stars* –

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Book Review of Creative and Successful Set Designs

Brooke Horan Williams Discusses How to Make Imaginative Stage Sets with Limited Resources


When creating a stage play for theater, one of the first projects after scriptwriting is setting up the stage. Just as the scriptwriting needs be written to have the characters believable, the stage setup needs to have special priority as well. In this book review, Brooke Horan Williams looks at Todd Mufanti’s book entitled Creative and Successful Set Designs: How to Make Imaginative Stage Sets with Limited Resources. In his book, Mufanti shares some experiences of his 40+ years’ experience as a set designer and university professor and shows how to find creative and inexpensive solutions for designing theater stages.

When one thinks of stage setting what comes to mind? For most of us, we think it’s all about creating a stage background so the play allows one’s imagination to unfold as the story is being told. However, Brooke says, Mufanti believes the role of a successful set design is “to create an environment that supports the playwright’s point of view as interpreted by the director and the actors.” The author goes on to say that, for this reason, no two plays will be the same set as every production will be different.

Brooke Horan Williams mentions that Creative and Successful Set Designs is one of her best resources that she recommends to newcomers and is a favorite among drama teachers everywhere. It contains dozens of photos and technical designs and gives step-by-step suggestions for creative stage design for high school theater. The author also discusses the spatial relationship of the stage and auditorium and how to use this to your advantage. One aspect Brooke likes that is especially helpful is small scale blueprints of stages. This helps the reader envision how the stage will look in real life.

Another thing Brooke Horan Williams loves about Creative and Successful Set Designs is the multitude of ideas for creating a set inexpensively. Mufanti talks about ways to convey different ideas to the audience and talks about methods that don’t require extensive building time or expense. In fact, many of the ideas he suggests are ways in which we can use the set props multiple times but in totally different ways. “This saves money for the theater in the long run,” she says. It’s easy to read and easy to follow along with as Mufanti gives plenty of examples and case studies about the ideas he recommends.

One of the bonuses inside the book, she says, is that it comes with resources and contact information for many of the props suggested. She says she can just go directly to the websites referenced without having to search for them on the internet. “This has saved me a ton of time,” she says.

Lastly, Brooke Horan Williams says that the visual creatives within the book, such as his sketches and models, help the reader understand how simplistic set adaptations can work and gives examples for many of his ideas. “Even though the book is only about 130 pages or so,” she says, “it still packs enough information and is a greater starting point for setting theater stages today. It’s one of my best all-time resources that I highly recommend.”

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Talks About the Primary Differences Between Theater and Screen Acting

An acting career comes under the heading of performing arts. Performing arts is described as forms of creative art in which the artists perform in front of audiences and use their bodies, voices, or objects to show artistic expression. Some examples include singing, dancing, and acting. Brooke Horan Williams has been doing theater since she was 6 years ago, and in this article, she talks about the primary differences between theater acting and screen acting.

While performing in films and television may seem effortless, Brooke Williams says, it’s a lot different than performing live in front of a theater. One of the biggest differences between screen acting and stage acting is that in the theater, the audience is farther away from the stage. When acting for films and television, the camera is much closer and can capture many more facial expressions. Because of this close-up perspective, she says, actors on film and television need to have more controlled movement and completely natural gestures since every expression can be seen. Stage actors, on the other hand, need to exaggerate their gestures, facial expressions, and movements so they can be seen from all areas of the audience.

Another big difference, says Brooke Horan Williams, is that stage actors don’t have the ability to fix their mistakes. With screen acting, directors can stop the action at any time and ask to have a scene repeated. This is not the case in theater acting in front of a live audience where the actors have only one opportunity to get it right. In fact, this is another skill a stage actor needs to have: the ability to improvise on a moment’s notice. Brooke Horan Williams says that many times things will go wrong when performing onstage in front of an audience. At that point, the actors need to continue in character, just as if nothing is wrong. This requires quick thinking on their feet and the ability to just keep going. Some things that happen, Brooke Horan Williams explains, are things like wardrobe malfunctions, set props falling over, or forgotten lines. “It happens all the time,” she explains, “and we just work it right into the play as if it were a part of the script.”

It probably goes without saying that successful actors must be able to act. Whether self-trained or a graduate of a drama school, actors must be able to portray believable characters in a manner that connects with the audience. Brooke Horan Williams says one of the major differences that most people don’t consider is the difference in preparation time for actors. For example, with screen acting, the set is often busy and the pace extremely active. The actors may be expected to learn a new set of lines on a moment’s notice or perform any scene out of order due to budget concerns, staffing issues, or inclement weather. For these reasons, screen actors are expected to come to set ready to work. On the other hand, Brooke explains, the pace for stage actors is a lot slower. Actors are allowed time to practice and often learn most of their scripts during rehearsals. By the time they perform publicly, they have practiced many times.

Some of the best actors are able to transition easily between the two venues, she adds, since many of the same skills are needed. However, knowing the differences between the two is necessary to help prepare the actor for a successful career.

Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, Brooke Horan Williams starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage.
After graduating from college, Brooke Horan Williams began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke Horan Williams’ love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.

Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams Offers Tips on How to Start an Acting Career

As a stage manager, Brooke Horan Williams says one of the most common questions she is asked by newcomers is how to start an acting career. “To understand how to perform well,” she says, “let’s start by looking at what acting is.” Whether for theatre or film, acting is the art of performing for an audience. It’s taking a 2-dimensional character and turning it into a real-life person, believable in every aspect. There are a few things someone can do to increase the chances of success, she adds. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things one can do to enhance their future acting career.

Start Early:

Start learning all you can while you’re still in school with musicals and plays, she begins, and participate in anything you can, such as local theatre, drama clubs, student films, acting workshops. From there you can progress to regional activities like performing in theme parks and other live events. “There are great networking opportunities when you are in groups like these,” she adds. “Plus, you’ll learn just by watching and listening.” Brooke Horan Williams recommends participating in everything that you can put on your resume. This becomes part of the valuable experience that casting directors are looking for.

Develop Skills on Your Own:

Even though acting is about interaction with other people, there are things you can do on your own, even prior to formal training. Brooke Horan Williams talks about the importance of reading and studying everything you can about acting as early as possible. There are many great websites and books out there about acting techniques, the history of acting and about the industry itself. These will introduce you to the different approaches to acting and give you some great ideas about how to perform your character like a professional.

There are many resources to choose from, she adds. Sites like BackStage have good casting tips and industry news. However, Brooke Horan Williams, says it’s difficult to just name one. She recommends starting with sites like PerformerStuff which has acting tips and samples of monologues to practice with. Websites like Actor’s Forum and ActorPoint are other sites with tons of tips and links to additional information you can study. Another huge online resource is Acting Is which includes weekly podcasts on various acting topics.

One skill you can definitely do on your own is to get exposed to various forms of acting. Watch great actors on film and theater and analyze body mechanics such as rhythm, posture, and movement. See if you can identify the method the actor is using. Study specific movement techniques and practice in front of a mirror.

There are other skills you can acquire on your own, she explains. These are of lesser importance but go along with acting. These include performing skills like dancing, playing a musical instrument, taking voice lessons, and other skills like horseback riding, stage fighting, and martial arts. Finally, you’ll need the ability to memorize lines. You can do this by searching online techniques, get some quality monologues and begin practicing in front of a camera. “There are a number of great techniques to learn this,” Brooke Horan Williams says. “It doesn’t really matter which one you start with.”

Get Professional Training:

For the best training in becoming an actor, you’ll need to go to acting classes or drama school. Here is where you’ll learn the art and craft of the profession along with professional methods and techniques that will last you a lifetime. “Drama schools will introduce you to so much more than you can get on your own,” Brook Horan Williams says. “The networking alone is invaluable.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg, Brooke Horan Williams says. This is a huge industry and there’s so much to learn. “I love to help newcomers break into the business,” she adds.

Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, Brooke Horan Williams starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage.

After graduating from college, Brooke Horan Williams began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke Horan Williams’ love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.

Brooke Horan Williams Talks Television Spin-Offs

Brooke Horan Williams dives into some of the best (and worst) TV spin-offs of all time.

The television spin-off is a time-honored tradition: when a show is particularly successful, it would be a mistake not to think about how best to possibly capitalize on its popularity. Sometimes this train of thought results in genius, and success that outstrips the original. Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, for example, are three classics that all spun off from the same show, All in the Family. Just because a show is being spun off from a certified hit, however, doesn’t mean you’ve automatically got television gold on your hands (Brooke Horan Williams thinks of Young Sheldon in this case, and probably never in any other for the rest of her life).

When it comes to more recent successes, Brooke Horan Williams points to Daria as an example of a spin-off that was able to find its own unique voice totally separate from its progenitor. First appearing as a character on the MTV classic animated show Beavis and Butthead, Daria’s solo outing couldn’t be more different from the show she originated in. While Beavis and Butthead were famous for their extreme, manic energy and gross-out humor, Daria took a more nihilistic, ironic approach to humor.

The ‘90s weren’t all great for spin-offs, however. In 1995, Baywatch Nights first aired and ran until 1997. Retaining the star power of David Hasselhoff just wasn’t enough to save this insane spin-off. The concept was a simple one, at first: the show traded the sunny beaches for the nightlife, with David Hasselhoff becoming a private detective after the sun goes down. After one season, the format was flipped on its head, and they began introducing paranormal mysteries into every storyline (very much akin to X-Files, but nowhere near as good). Brooke Horan Williams urges anyone to look up the intro to this show on YouTube, as it will definitely provide you with a healthy dose of entertainment.

Perhaps one of the most well-known spin-offs in recent years, Brooke Horan Williams points out, is The Colbert Report. Spun off from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report gave comedian and reporter Stephen Colbert his own show that ran in the timeslot after The Daily Show for years. In the show, Stephen Colbert portrayed a fictional version of himself and satirized political punditry (in particular, Bill O’Reilly was named as an enormous influence on the Colbert character, with Colbert referring to him as “Papa Bear”).

The show was nominated for four Emmys during its first year on air and was nominated every year it was on the air thereafter. The Colbert Report won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series in 2013 and 2015, beating The Daily Show and ending its winning streak, which was the longest in Emmys history. It’s safe to say that the success of this show led Stephen Colbert—out of character, this time—to become the host of The Late Show in 2015.

There is solid proof that spin-offs can be as good, if not better than than the original shows they were spun off from. However, Brooke Horan Williams pleads, no more Young Sheldons.


Brooke Horan Williams

Brooke Horan Williams: Cats Review Rundown

Brooke Horan Williams corrals her favorite take-downs of the newly-released musical.

AUSTIN, TX / ACCESSWIRE / January 9, 2020 / Since the first trailer was released, Brooke Horan Willams‘ hopes have not been high for this stage-to-screen adaptation. Cats, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, first premiered 38 years ago in the London Theatre in 1981 where it ran for 21 years. It ran on Broadway for 18 years, and between the two runs, had a combined 16,434 performances. Whatever your opinions may be concerning the content of the show itself, there’s no contesting that it has been a wildly successful endeavor, and will go down in history.

Hollywood Reporter: “Cat-astrophic.”

LA Times: “‘Cats’ is both a horror and an endurance test.”

Boston Globe: “My eyes are burning. Oh God, my eyes.”

The movie might be going down in history as well, but for wildly different reasons. Brooke Horan Williams reveals the review embargo on the film has been lifted, and the critic reaction to the star-studded adaptation has not been kind.

By all means, it sounds like a recipe for success: take a long-established, successful Broadway hit, add a hard-hitting cast comprised of both contemporary celebrities and legendary auteurs, spice it up with modern-day special effects, and you should have an easy hit on your hands. Unfortunately, it seems like the 2019 cinematic revival of Cats is more litterbox worthy than box office hit.

Reviews have been absolutely scathing, and Brooke Horan Williams is finding more entertainment in them than she assumes she’ll find in the movie. Den of Geek calls it “One of the weirdest and most garish monstrosities to be birthed out of the Hollywood studio system in this century.”

Screen Junkies says that it’s “A spectacular disaster…This movie feels like a prank but I don’t know on whom.”

At least part of the issues audiences seem to be having with the film deal with the CGI implemented in order to create the illusion of the actors being cats. Eschewing the garish costumes of the stage show, the cast has had their faces digitally inserted on strange, computer-animated bodies that are half-cat, half-person.

Brooke Horan Williams can’t help but be extremely disappointed with how Cats wastes its incredible cast: Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Taylor Swift, Dame Judy Dench, Jennifer Hudson-the list goes on, but sadly, it appears none of this star power was enough to save the quality of this ill-advised remake.

The Daily Telegraph reported in, “Glad to report that Cats is everything you’d hoped for and more: a mesmerizingly ugly fiasco that makes you feel like your brain is being eaten by a parasite. A viewing experience so stressful that it honestly brought on a migraine.”

Not to be outdone, The New York Times chimed in, “It’s amazing to see what Adult Swim can accomplish with a $100 million budget. I never knew Tom Hooper was capable of making a surrealist nightmare that would rival Jodorowsky, that could baffle David Lynch, that would prompt even the dark god Cthulhu to emit an impressed eldritch shriek of ‘nehehehehehe'”

Perhaps most succinctly, The Beat claims: “Cats is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs.”

Brooke Horan Williams: Screen to Stage to Screen

Brooke Horan Williams takes a look at some of her favorite silver screen adaptations of stage hits based on movies.

It’s more common than you’d think, Brooke Horan Williams tells us: a classic movie is considered prime material for a stage adaptation, which then inspires a movie version of the musical. This odd, recursive method of producing shows may seem uninspired on the surface level, but as Brooke Horan Williams teaches us, this spiral of inspiration can lead to the best possible versions of a story.

 Brooke Horan Williams begins with perhaps the most famous example of this sort of roundabout inspiration: The Producers. The Producers was originally a Mel Brooks film released in 1967, starring Gene Wilder (best known today for his role as the original Willy Wonka) and Zero Mostel (himself a legitimate broadway star, starring in productions such as Fiddler on the Roof and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum). The film’s plot revolves around a washed-up Broadway producer (Mostel) who attempts to commit fraud with the help of an accountant (Wilder) by producing the worst possible play imaginable, thereby taking advantage of an auditing loophole. Unfortunately, the play becomes a massive hit and classic Mel Brooks style antics ensue. 

As the plot revolved around a Broadway musical already, Brooke Horan Williams points out, this show was a perfect choice to be adapted to the stage. Mel Brooks himself oversaw the stage adaptation and in 2001, The Producers made its Broadway debut. With legendary actors Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick taking over the lead roles, the play was a smash hit and inspired the film adaptation. The movie was released just a few years later in 2005, retained Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick as the lead roles and added Will Ferrel to the cast as well.

Brooke Horan Williams goes on to list Hairspray as another example of this phenomenon. The original movie was released in 1988 by John Waters and follows the story of Tracy Turnblad, played by Riki Lake, as she auditions for a dance show on a local television show and rallies her community against racial segregation. 

The movie was considered successful among fans and critics, but the Broadway show it inspired was arguably even more so. Hairspray debuted on Broadway in 2002, was nominated for 13 Tonys in 2003, and won 8 of them, including one for Best Musical. The stage show, in turn, was adapted to film in 2007. The movie version of the musical stage show added recognizable star power, with a cast that included John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Amanda Bynes, and more. The movie also gave Nikki Blonsky her film debut as the main character, Tracy Turnblad.

Brooke Horan Williams gives one final example: Little Shop of Horrors. The original movie, titled The Little Shop of Horrors and released in 1960, was a black-and-white dark comedy that revolves around a man-eating plant. The musical stage show, Little Shop of Horrors, first released in 1982 and inspired the 1986 film, which starred comedy legend Rick Moranis as the main character, See Krelbourne. All three are dark comedies, yet have very different endings, Brooke Horan Williams points out: the original ends with Seymour sacrificing himself to destroy the plant, while the stage show ends with the plant devouring everything—including, in an impressive bit of puppetry, the audience. The 1986 movie has the happiest ending, with Seymour destroying the plant without having to sacrifice himself.

At the end of the day, despite directly inspiring their successors, all these shows are unique in their own way, and deserve a watch from any fan of the arts.