These 5 Broadway Shows Prove That Hits Can Come From The Most Unlikely Of Sources

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09: Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo and Ariana DeBose with Lin-Manuel Miranda during their final performance curtain call of 'Hamilton' on Broadway at Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)

Inspiration can spark from unexpected sources, especially when seen through the eyes of theatre artists.

While it's not uncommon to find Broadway musicals adapted from film and tv shows, some of its most legendary hits were inspired by material that emerged from some of the most unconventional inspirations.

Here are some that have us taking a second look.

1. Grey Gardens

The seminal 1975 documentary Grey Gardens remains a cult classic because its subjects—the aunt and cousin of Jackie O, who live in the squalor of their once-glorious mansion—have charmed viewers across generations. One character in particular—Edith Beale, known to most as "Little Edie"—went on to become a gay icon and a role model for creative outcasts everywhere. When the musical adaptation of Grey Gardens opened, it was the first Broadway musical ever based on a documentary.

2. Cats

Cats isn't just about dancing cats.

Okay, well maybe it is, but the poems that inspired it has a rich history. Before it was adapted into one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats was a collection by the iconic poet T.S. Eliot. Practically all of Cats's most iconic songs are adapted poems from this collection about the cats who would become stage stars.

3. The Wild Party

The Wild Party—a book-length 1928 poem by Joseph Moncure March—inspired not one, but two musicals. The poem tells of a party thrown by Hollywood entertainer Queenie but quickly devolves over the course of a long, libation-fueled night. While the poem was banned in certain cities, it would enjoy immense success about 60 years later, when an adaptation of it by composer Michael John LaChiusa premiered on Broadway. Another musical of the same name by Andrew Lippa premiered Off-Broadway as well.

4. Fun Home

At first glance, Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home seems the opposite of a Broadway musical is often thought to be. Its artwork is straightforward with little spectacle. There isn't flowery language and the characters aren't glamorous. However, as 2015's Tony Winner for Best Musical showed, the Broadway musical Fun Home retained all the wonder and urgency of the graphic memoir that inspired it.

5. Hamilton

The hip hop musical that would go take Broadway by storm may not have come to fruition had it not been for an 818-page biography about its protagonist. That's right: while embarking on vacation during the Broadway run of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda browsed for some new reading material in an airport bookstore. That's when he came across Ron Chernow's 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton. As he read of Hamilton's life, he visualized it more and more as a musical. Chernow would go on to be the historical consultant for the production and the Broadway smash would boost his book sales by millions of copies.

What are some other musicals that have unlikely beginnings? Let us know in the comments!

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The United States, unlike North Korea and other nations President Donald Trump admires, does not have an official state media channel where the federal government can push propaganda.

But since his 2016 campaign, Trump has spoken as though he does have an official state media in Fox News.

Keep reading...
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Retired General John Kelly served as President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff until late 2018, and now he's siding against Trump on a crucial point.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's allegations in his upcoming memoir have rocked the impeachment trial in the Senate. Bolton claims Trump sought to withhold aid from Ukraine until it acquiesced to performing politically beneficial investigations for Trump's reelection bid.

Keep reading...

As calls continue to grow for former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify before the Senate in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is feeling left out.

Demands for Bolton's testimony skyrocketed among the public after allegations in his upcoming memoir that Trump sought to withhold Ukrainian aid as late as September to secure foreign investigations into Trump's political rivals.

Keep reading...
Fox News

Explosive allegations from an upcoming memoir by former National Security Advisor John Bolton are strengthening the case for additional witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

According to Bolton's manuscript, the President sought as recently as September to withhold $391 million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine until its President announced investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Keep reading...
Scott Olson/Getty Images // Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The defense team in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial spent its second day of arguments defending Rudy Giuliani, bashing House Democrats, and ignoring bombshell developments regarding former National Security Advisor John Bolton that broke in the days before.

The team went after a familiar target in a performance that was likely for an audience of one: Donald Trump.

Keep reading...

Ken Starr, a conservative pundit and frequent Fox News guest, is best known for his dogged attacks to find impeachable offenses by President Bill Clinton during a multi-year investigation into every aspect of the Clinton family's lives.

In the end, Starr found an extramarital affair which was used to impeach Clinton and that Clinton lied under oath about his personal life.

Keep reading...