Culture

The Best Plays Based on Books 

Buster McDermott
Updated June 14, 2019 573 votes 120 voters 12.9k views 38 items

List Rules Vote up the best stage plays that were originally based on a book.

There are a lot of famous movies that were made from plays, but there are a lot of amazing plays that have been based on books. These days, everything seems to be based (even loosely) on something else. But this isn't always a bad thing. Many books lend themselves well to the stage, as evidence by the plays on this list. What are the best plays based on books?

The plays on this list span genres and production styles. They include dramas, comedies, and romances. Did you know that some of the most famous plays in history were based on novels, autobiographies, or other books? It’s no wonder they're on this list since they’re based on stories we all know and love – stories that have actually made a significant impact on the literary world as well as the world of the stage.

The plays listed here have been ranked by the community as the best. This list features the best plays based on books including, Les Miserables, Ben Hur, A Christmas Carol, Young Frankenstein, Kite Runner, Albert Speer, and War Horse. Vote up the best plays based on books below and see where the plays you think are the best rank!
list ordered by
1
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Claude-Michel Schönberg, Jean-Marc Natel, Herbert Kretzmer
Based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo.
2
A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
A Christmas Carol Patrick Stewart
Based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens.
3
Fiddler on the Roof is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added Sheldon Harnick , Jerry Bock , Joseph Stein
Based on the tales by Sholem Aleichem
4
Into the Woods is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim

Based on the fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm

5
Sweeney Todd: The Demon ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added Hugh Wheeler , Stephen Sondheim
Based on the penny dreadful "The String of Pearls: A Romance" by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest
6
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Crime and Punishment Marilyn Campbell, Curt Columbus
Based on the book of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
7
Cabaret is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added Fred Ebb , John Kander , Joe Masteroff
Based on the novel "Goodbye to Berlin" by Christopher Isherwood
8
Young Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Irving Berlin , Mel Brooks , Thomas Meehan
Loosely based on the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
9
War Horse is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Adrian Sutton , Nick Stafford , John Tams
Based on the book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo.
10
The 39 Steps is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Patrick Barlow
Based on the book of the same name by John Buchan
11
Ben-Hur is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Lew Wallace
Based on the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace.
12
Man of La Mancha is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added Mitch Leigh , Joe Darion , Dale Wasserman
Based on the book "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes
13
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Frank Galati
Based on the book of the same name by John Steinbeck.
14
Gigi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Frederic Loewe , Alan Jay Lerner
Based on the book of the same name by Colette.
15
Der Glöckner von No... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Tom Islava added James Lapine , Alan Menken , Stephen Schwartz

Based on the book The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

16
Educating Rita is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Educating Rita Willy Russell
Loosely based on Greek myth and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.
17
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
AmyMaloney added Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
18
Kite Runner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Kite Runner Matthew Spangler
Based on the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
19
Dracula, the Musical is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Christopher Hampton , Don Black , Frank Wildhorn
Based on the book Dracula by Bram Stoker.
20
The Life and Adventures ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby David Edgar
Based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens.
21
I Never Promised You a R... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Joanne Greenberg
Based on the  book of the same name by Joanne Greenberg.
22
The Masquerader is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
The Masquerader John Hunter Booth
Based on the book of the same name by Katherine Cecil Thurston.
23
Girl With a Pearl Earrin... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Girl With a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier
Based on the book of the same name by Tracy Chevalier
24
Travels With My Aunt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
Travels With My Aunt Giles Havergal
Based on the book of the same name by Graham Greene.
25
The Affair is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books
The Affair Ronald Millar
Based on the book of the same name by C.P Snow.