From the page to the stage: 8 musicals based on books

These world-famous musicals were all originally inspired by works of literature.

You've seen the shows, you can sing along to all the songs, but did you know that these award-winning musicals were all inspired by works of literature?

The Phantom of the Opera

by Gaston Leroux

Book cover for The Phantom of the Opera

A story of strange happenings and a mysterious 'phantom' who lurks in the shadows of the Paris Opera House, Gaston Leroux's gothic novel was adapted for the stage by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986. Since then, The Phantom of the Opera has run for over 16,000 consecutive performances, becoming the longest-running Broadway show of all time.

Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow

Book cover for Alexander Hamilton

Lin Manuel Miranda cites Ron Chernow's 2004 800-page biography of Alexander Hamilton – which he picked up on a whim at an airport bookshop – as the inspiration for his multi-award winning musical about the extraordinary life of one of America's Founding Fathers.

Les Misérables

by Victor Hugo

Book cover for Les Misérables

Since premiering in Paris in 1980, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic French novel has been performed to over 70 million people in 44 countries and translated into over twenty languages. 


by Roald Dahl

Book cover for Matilda

Adapted for the stage by comedian and performer Tim Minchin, Matilda: The Musical has all of the same humour, and horror, as Roald Dahl's classic children's book about an extraordinary young girl and the gruesome grown-ups who surround her.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Book cover for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ian Fleming's only children's book was adapted for the West End in 2002, with the musical production of the story of Caracatus Potts and his flying car earning itself a place in the record books. Chitty, who was built especially for the London Palladium's stage at the cost of £750,000, was declared by Guinness Book of World Records to be the 'most expensive stage prop ever'.

Oliver Twist

by Charles Dickens

Book cover for Oliver Twist

The Tony award-winning musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist opened in the West End in 1960 and has since been translated into and performed in over twenty languages, including Japanese, Dutch and Estonian.

The Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Book cover for The Wizard of Oz

Inspired by Frank L. Baum's The Wizard of Oz, Gregory Maguire's 1995 reimagining of the story of the Wicked Witch of the East proved the inspiration for a musical of the same name; which has been running on Broadway since it opened in 2003. A film adaptation of Wicked is currently in production.

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

by T. S. Eliot

Book cover for Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical inspired by literature, the idea for Cats and its cast of feline characters came from T.S. Eliot's 1939 whimsical poetry collection, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.