From Book to Broadway

Did you know that some of the most well-known broadway shows are often based on books? It’s true, before the catchy show tunes and choreographed numbers, these stories lived on pages instead. Before heading to the theater, or if you can’t snag a ticket to these popular shows, why not listen to the work that inspired it all?

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini, narrated by Ramon de Ocampo

After a soundtrack that went viral and a successful run Off Broadway, Be More Chill just debuted on Broadway in March of 2019. Based on Ned Vizzini‘s novel of the same name, Be More Chill is a sci-fi story that focuses on the importance of being yourself.

Publisher Summary:

Jeremy Heere is your average high school dork. Day after day, he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and dryly notes the small humiliations that come his way. Until the day he learns about the ‘squip.’ A pill-sized supercomputer that you swallow, the squip is guaranteed to bring you whatever you most desire in life… 

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, narrated by Scott Brick

In 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, took the world by storm with its refreshing cast and innovative use of rapping to tell the story of one of America’s founding fathers. Since then, it has been critically acclaimed and has won countless awards including a Grammy, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 11 Tonys.

Publisher Summary:

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America… 

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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, narrated by Pete Cross

Les Misérables was adapted into a French Broadway musical in 1980 and then later translated to English in 1985. Often fondly called, Les Mis, it is the second longest running musical in the world and was the recipient of 8 Tony awards. Most recently, a film adaptation was released starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, and many other notable stars.

Publisher Summary:

Considered to be French novelist Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables, which was published in 1862, is a sprawling historical and philosophical epic that covers from 1815 through the Paris Uprising in 1832…

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Wicked by Gregory Maguire, narrated by John McDonough

Now a record-breaking, award-winning Broadway musical, Wicked, an adaptation of Gregory Maguire‘s novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, debuted in 2003. This re-telling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (also a Broadway musical) tells the tale from the perspective of the misunderstood Wicked Witch of The West.

Publisher Summary:

Maguire travels back to Frank L. Baum’s land of Oz for this absorbing fantasy that delves into the background if the famed Wicked Witch of the West, a misunderstood creature who challenges the preconceived notions of good and evil.

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Matilda by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet

Based on the beloved children’s book of the same name, Matilda: The Musical, tells the classic tale of Matilda, an amazing girl with the power of telekinesis. Matilda: The Musical saw its Broadway debut in 2013 and since then, has received five Tony Awards and boasts the most Olivier awards held by a musical, tying only with Hamilton.

Publisher Summary:

Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

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10 of Our Favorite Celebrity-Read Audiobooks

The best audiobooks have the best narrators, and a quick way to find them is to look for Hollywood stars that you love to watch perform. Of course, professional narrators are fantastic but chances are if you love an actor’s voice on screen you’ll love to hear her narrate, too. Here are 10 audiobooks narrated by some of our favorite celebs!

 

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
Narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: talented and successful but slowly going under. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that the insanity becomes real and even rational. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s narration captures and even enhances the haunting mood. Such penetration into the dark corners of the psyche is extraordinary and has made The Bell Jar an American classic.

 

Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
Narrated by Meryl Streep
Nora Ephron shows it’s possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage. During her pregnancy, Rachel discovers that her husband is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has ‘a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb’ is no consolation. Heartburn is a delightfully performed by the lady considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep.

 

The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
Narrated by James Franco
This #1 national bestseller was recently released in audio, read by King fan and actor James Franco. Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma after his car accident and discovers that he can see people’s futures and pasts when he touches them. When he has a disturbing vision, he must decide if he should take drastic action to change the future.

 

 

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
Narrated by Reese Witherspoon
This was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Performed by Hollywood star and book lover, Reese Witherspoon.

 

What Pet Should I Get, by Dr. Seuss
Narrated by Rainn Wilson
Fans of The Office television series will fully enjoy listening to the contrast of Dwight Schrute’s voice taking on a mild mannered persona as he reads about kids in a pet store. While this audiobook is for children, all lovers of Dr. Seuss will appreciate how he captures the classic moment of choosing a pet.

 

 

Matilda, by Roald Dahl
Narrated by Kate Winslet
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. Kate Winslet’s narration is calm while her characterizations are full of life, bringing attitude and punch to this classic tale.

 

Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick
Narrated by Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture. Each word is executed with the fast sarcasm and charming quirkiness typical to the roles she plays. Self-described as a “very, very small weirdo,” Kendrick entertains listeners with her tales of early friendships and discovering her calling as an actress.

 

 

A Life in Parts, by Bryan Cranston
Narrated by Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston’s deep, resonant voice is captivating as he discusses his failures as few men do, and describes his work as few actors can. He explains how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help create one of the most riveting on-screen performances: Walter White on Breaking Bad. In A Life in Parts, Cranston traces his journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany, and beyond.

 


Yes Please
,
by Amy Poehler
Narrated by Amy Poehler
While listening, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood to her early days in New York City, Yes Please is chock-full of wisdom to live by. Alongside Poehler’s genuine and entertaining narration, Yes Please includes guest narration by Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
Narrated by Mindy Kaling
In her sarcastic and sassy tone, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

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