Are there are any stage musicals that were "born" as stage musicals?

Lerner & Lowe based My Fair Lady on Pygmalion and Camelot on Once and Future King, Oklahoma on a non-musical play and King & ISound of Music* were highly fictionalized musicalizations of highly fictionalized previous film versions of somewhat true stories (Sound of Music was based on a German filmwhich was based on Maria von Trapp’s memoirs) and South Pacific on stories by James Michener. Kander and Ebb based Cabaret on various works by Isherwood [ultimately] and Chicago on a non-musical movie/play and novel and Kiss of the Spider Woman on the novel, Fiddler on the Roof was based on the short stories of Sholem Aleichem, Les Miserables and Wicked and Ragtime on the novels of those names, Miss Saigon is an updating/adaptation of Madame Butterfly as Rent is of La Boheme, and most of the musicals produced in the last decade are musicalizations of movies (with Hairspray being a musical movie based on a musical play based on a non musical movie and The Color Purple soon to be a musical movie based on a musical play based on a novel that inspired/was cross pollenated by a major non-musical motion picture).


Have there been any successful musicals that have been completely original? By this I mean they were not based on a novel, non-musical play, or previous work but were an original story with original characters designed specifically for the musical theater? Gilbert and Sullivan I’m pretty sure would qualify- some of their works anyway- but surely there’s something more recent.

I’m not making judgment I should ad: I loved many of the works above and few if any of Shakespeare’s plays (which I consider a sort of “spoken musical”) were original in plot, but I’m just curious if any characters/stories began as musicals.

I believe In The Heights is completely original. Debuted Off-Broadway in 2007 and moved to the big street in 2008.

Chorus Line?

Avenue Q?

How about Bye Bye Birdie and Hair

Good ones all so far.

I’m pretty sure that The Music Man qualifies.

Starlight Express, Urinetown, Bells Are Ringing, The Rocky Horror Show

Paint Your Wagon, Anything Goes, Me and My Girl, Finian’s Rainbow

Kiss Me Kate (the play within the play is The Taming of the Shrew, but the framing plot (the complications coming of Bill giving the Mob Fred’s name as his own after incurring gambling debts) isn’t really based on it)

I think Hedwig and the Angry Inch would qualify. It wasn’t based on any earlier book or movie, although the Off-Broadway premier of the stage musical wasn’t the first appearance of the character. As the musical was being developed they were trying out the material at a drag club in NYC with John Cameron Mitchell doing monologues as Hedwig and the house band playing the songs. But Hedwig was always an on-stage work and always involved music.

Sweet Charity was written specifically to showcase Gwen Verdun

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum

A lot of Sondheim, actually, no? Company, Follies, Anyone Can Whistle

That was based on the Roman comedy Pseudolus.

The Drowsy Chaperone
Nunsense (and sequels)

Older works:
Little Johnny Jones
I’d Rather Be Right
Babes in Arms
Anything Goes

However, it was based on the Fellini film The Nights of Cabiria.


I unserstand that another source was Miles Gloriosus.

La Boheme