From Screen to Stage: Top 5 Tom Hanks films that should be musicals

Tom Hanks might be on his way to an EGOT with his recent nomination for his Leading Role in a Play in the Nora Ephron production of Lucky Guy. With Hanks’ Broadway debut this spring and his 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle eyeing a Broadway run, following the Broadway run of other Hanks films Big and Catch Me If You Can, the idea to come up with other Tom Hanks films that could transition to the stage.

Here are my Top Five Dream Hanks Films-to-Stage adaptations:


The Conductor voiced by Tom Hanks in 'The Polar Express.'

The Conductor voiced by Tom Hanks in ‘The Polar Express.’

The Polar Express – The enchanting and touching innocence that surrounds this Christmas tale would make a wonderful addition to the recently expanding holiday musical canon. Tom Hanks produces and stars as the train conductor of the magical Polar Express that picks up children around the world and travels to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. After going from a beautiful book to a captivating film, a musical seems like the next step.

Liv Tyler and Tom Hanks in 'That Thing You Do.'

Liv Tyler and Tom Hanks in ‘That Thing You Do.’

That Thing You Do – With one of the most catchy title songs of all time, it is actually mind-blowing to me how this movie has not made the jump to the stage yet! The movie follows a rock band made up of young men in the 1960s who, with the help of their manager (Tom Hanks), rocket to Beatles-style fame. A fun, feel-good movie with cute guitar playing lads and the simple, catchy pop tunes of the 1960s sounds like a recipe for a solid musical.


Tom Hanks in ‘Forrest Gump.’

Forrest Gump – The wide variety of experiences that Forrest lives through provide the material for an interesting musical. The story follows Forrest (Tom Hanks) from childhood with tales of his childhood love, meeting several presidents, owning a shrimping boat, fighting in the Vietnam War, playing ping-pong and countless others. There are so many great options for touching scenes, extravagant settings and larger-than-life characters that this would make a thoroughly engaging musical!

Tom Hanks in 'A League Of Their Own'

Tom Hanks in ‘A League of Their Own’

A League of Their Own – The movie is about bunch of baseball playing broads with their has-been manager (Tom Hanks) along for the ride. Sassy, tough gals singing belty, team-building group numbers with a torch song about “no crying in baseball” and voila! – insta-musical!

Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah in 'Splash.'

Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah in ‘Splash.’

Splash – Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks) almost drowns and is saved by none other than a mermaid. When he is foolish enough to return and fall in the ocean again (seriously though, who does that?), the mermaid saves him again but then decides to become human and try to find love with the boy she rescued. The plot is a bit similar (ok, a lot similar) to The Little Mermaid, but with a rockin’ 80s romantic comedy plot and soundtrack.  How can you go wrong?

What Tom Hanks movie would you want to see turned into a musical? There are so many to choose from! Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. I can DEFINITELY see “The Polar Express” and “That Thing You Do” as musicals on Broadway, since the latter is already a musical with all its songs, and the whimsy and magic of the former reminds me of musicals like Matilda.