monopoly musical

I love musicals and I adore tabletop games, but my affection for both of them is about to be severely tested — a Monopoly stage musical is in the works. A Broadway show based on the world’s most recognizable (and severely outdated and just plain broken) board game is inexplicably in development from people who should know better. This is the kind of news that is genetically engineered to ruin my day. I cannot fathom this thing actually getting made and reaching a New York City stage, but everyone involved should still go directly to creative jail without passing Go or collecting $200.

The news comes our way via Variety and it’s the kind of report full of words like “brand” and “licensed content,” which should tell you everything you need to know about why a board game built around Atlantic City real estate and getting really angry at your family members is being adapted into a stage musical. The basic gist of it all involves a new deal between Hasbro and the Araca Group, the Broadway producing and merchandising company that has had a hand in shows like Disgraced, Wicked, Shuffle Along, and The Book of Mormon. There are currently no writers or directors attached to the show. Here’s a quote from Araca Group representative Matthew Rego:

I can tell you this: It’s not going to be a musical about people sitting around playing Monopoly. What turns us on is creating something that explores the world of Monopoly, kind of like the Lego movies have done with Legos.

Yep, The LEGO Movie has officially become the go-to explanation for the existence of far too many bad ideas. The LEGO Movie is lucky that it is, against all odds, completely wonderful because it is doing a lot of damage these days. If you’re ready for another quote that will make your eyes roll into the back of your head and possibly never return, here’s Habro’s Simon Waters:

We’re expanding our franchises and building immersive experiences. To bring our properties to life onstage is just the next level of immersion.

Although millions upon millions of people around the globe own a copy of Monopoly, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who actually enjoys playing it, let along people who care to pay Broadway prices to be “immersed” in it. This isn’t like Disney bringing its hit movies to the musical theater scene, where the company is relying on beloved characters to attract audiences. This isn’t even like The LEGO Movie, which was a singular work of cinematic anarchy that bit the brand that fed it while celebrating it. This is just an attempt to put a recognizable name on a marquee. Heck, I’d have a lot more respect for everyone involved if they announced a G.I. Joe or Transformers musical – at least those feature characters people love and I would actually like to see Optimus Prime belting a solo on Broadway

The silver lining to this is that maybe, perhaps, a Broadway musical version of Monopoly would effectively kill the movie version that we get threatened with every few years.

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