The Best Plays Based on Books

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!
Ranked by
  • Les Misérables
    Claude-Michel Schönberg, Jean-Marc Natel, Herbert Kretzmer
    48 votes
    • Characters: Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Éponine, Monsieur Thénardier
    Based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo.
    Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz is a sung-through musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, ...more
  • Cabaret
    Fred Ebb , John Kander, Joe Masteroff
    13 votes
    • Characters: Fräulein Schneider, Sally Bowles, Fraulein Kost, Emcee, Clifford Bradshaw
    Based on the novel "Goodbye to Berlin" by Christopher Isherwood
  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    Patrick Stewart
    30 votes
    Based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens.
  • Into the Woods
    James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim
    22 votes
    • Characters: Rapunzel, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Cinderella, Big Bad Wolf

    Based on the fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm

    Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring ...more
  • Fiddler on the Roof
    Sheldon Harnick , Jerry Bock, Joseph Stein
    26 votes
    • Characters: Tevye, Chava, Lazar Wolf, Tzeitel, Golde
    Based on the tales by Sholem Aleichem
    Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his ...more
  • War Horse
    Adrian Sutton , Nick Stafford, John Tams
    16 votes
    • Characters: Captain James Nicholls, Albert Narracott, Ted Narracott, Major Jamie Stewart, Sergeant Sam Perkins
    Based on the book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo.
    War Horse is a play based on the book of the same name by children's writer Michael Morpurgo, adapted for stage by Nick Stafford. Originally Morpurgo thought "they must be mad" to try to make a play ...more