Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, believe it or not, is headed for the Broadway stage. The original film, which made a star out of Alicia Silverstone and the late Brittany Murphy, perfectly encapsulated ’90s teen culture, music, and fashion trends, and mashed it together with a loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. The result was a hilarious classic, which is both a perfect time capsule of the era in which it was made, and also manages to be completely timeless.
Heckerling, who also directed the ’80s comedy Fast Times At Ridgemont High (and equally influential teen movie of its era) is writing the book of the musical, which in musical theater speak, is the script for the non-singing parts of the show. Somewhat less exciting however, is the news that this is going to be what they call a “jukebox musical,” which means instead of coming up with their own songs for the show, they use well-known pop hits and work them into a pre-existing story.
Ever since the success of Mamma Mia!, which used the ABBA catalog of hits, there have been literally dozens of jukebox musicals looking for the same success, like Rock of Ages and Good Vibrations, with maybe Jersey Boys being the only one to really make any kind of lasting impact. I think a movie like Clueless has enough iconic lines and moments to be spun into songs, similar to how they took John Waters’ Hairspray and mined that script for musical gold.
In any event, it could be some time before we actually get to see Cher, Dionne and Ty belting out the hits on Broadway; according to Heckerling, musical theater development is a long process, saying “Everything goes so slowly. I thought movies took a long time.”