There is a magic to live theater that many believe cannot be interpreted successfully into a film. However, there are a number of movies that happily prove critics wrong when they are done well and adapted properly to the new medium.
When the writer, director and performers understand that there is a fundamental difference between putting on a play and creating a movie, magic can truly occur.
This play is an absolute tour de force of emotions and showcasing the real human condition of being an African American in the 1950s. Playwright August Wilson created it as part of his Pittsburgh Cycle, which included 10 plays – one for each decade up until his death in 2005. Fences won him a Pulitzer Prize after it debuted in 1987 at the 46th Street Theater.
Wilson was heavily involved in several attempts to bring the play to film, but it always fell short as he insisted on having an African American director. Denzel Washington became involved after starring in the 2010 Broadway revival of the play and then worked with producer Scott Rudin to see the play finally make the move to the big screen with himself as the lead and as the director. The film was well received and gained a number of big award nominations and wins.
It’s one of the longest running shows in Broadway, thanks to the 1996 revival that is still hitting the stage night after night. When people heard that there was a film version in the making, many were very confused as to how such a stylized production would work for cinema. However, scriptwriter Bill Condon and director Rob Marshall were incredibly clever in their efforts to make it work for the different medium.
They used all the original characters and kept the story pretty much exactly the same. The only major change they put in was that most of the song and dance numbers were pretty much fantasies inside Roxie Hart’s head. This allowed for the highly stylized performances and the incredible Bob Fosse style choreography, while still keeping the story grounded in some kind of reality. It was a hit! And so much so that it received Best Picture at the Oscars.
This Broadway hit has always been a powerhouse just like online Bingo around the world, and it has room for amazing performances to be portrayed for all the lead characters. The story itself may be fictional, but it is rooted in history and the rich world of R&B in America in the 1960s and 1970s.
It combines a powerful message with some incredible music. The musical stage version is so beloved by both the theatre community and the R&B community that it must have been daunting to take on the film version.
However, the person behind the screen adaptation was once again Bill Condon and this time he was directing too. Added to the strong script and already strong music, Condon pulled in an all-star cast. It included Beyonce, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, as well as the acting debut for Jennifer Hudson – for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.