Disney Theatrical Productions

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Disney Theatrical Productions Ltd.
Type Division of Disney Theatrical Group
Industry Theater
Founded 1993
Headquarters New York City, U.S.A.
Products Productions
Parent The Walt Disney Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
Website Disney On Broadway

Disney Theatrical Productions Limited, also known as Disney on Broadway, once billed as Hyperion Theatricals,[1] is the flagship stageplay and musical production company of the Disney Theatrical Group, a self-contained division of The Walt Disney Company.

Founded in 1993 as Walt Disney Theatrical, the division has gained a reputation within the industry for creating professional and popular (both critically and financially) performances, starting with the acclaimed Beauty and the Beast in 1994 and most recently with Aladdin in 2014. The company is a division of Disney Theatrical Group, led by Thomas Schumacher.

Animation adaptations[edit]

Advertisement for Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast[edit]

The show began previews in New York City on March 9, 1994 and officially opened at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994. The musical was the first Broadway adaptation by Disney, based on the 1991 animated film by Linda Woolverton and with music and lyrics by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Several new songs were written for the Broadway musical, including Home, a ballad sung by Belle which quickly became the signature song of the musical. It had a continuous run and the final performance took place on July 29, 2007 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre to make room for another Disney production, The Little Mermaid. At 5,461 performances, the show is currently the eighth-longest run in Broadway history.

It has been performed internationally first in Melbourne, Australia and has also been performed in London, Toronto, Kyoto, Seoul, Stuttgart, Sydney, Mexico City, Guayaquil, Johannesburg, Madrid, Moscow, Milan, Sao Paulo and has also toured around the USA and United Kingdom. In the Netherlands this production was co-produced by Joop van den Ende's Stage Entertainment. The production had new sets and costumes.

The Lion King[edit]

The Lion King followed //Buddy – The Musical// at the "Theater im Hafen", Hamburg. The theatre was completely renovated, by Stage Entertainment, before The Lion King transferred to Germany.

The show debuted July 8, 1997, in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre, and was an instant success before premiering on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater on October 15, 1997 in previews with the official opening on November 13, 1997. On June 13, 2006, the Broadway production moved to the Minskoff Theatre to make way for the musical version of Mary Poppins, where it is still running.[1] It is now Broadway's seventh longest-running show in history. The show uses a range of theatrical techniques, and is not a conventional musical, yet is probably the most popular production Disney Theatrical have ever conceived and one of the most loved productions in the world. It has consistently been one of the highest grossing musicals on Broadway every week, always performing to nearly-sold out audiences. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical at the 1998 Tony Awards.

Its popularity has spawned several additional opening performances around the world, including in London, Toronto, Hamburg, Scheveningen, Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Montreal, Tokyo, Paris, Nagoya, Russia, Seoul, Johannesburg, Las Vegas, Taipei, Phoenix, Arizona, Madrid and São Paulo.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame[edit]

In 2008, Stephen Schwartz said, "I think we're starting up Hunchback of Notre Dame, hopefully, next year (2009). Rumor has reached my ear that it's happening."[2] Thomas Schumacher, head of Disney Theatrical, discussed current and future stage productions in an article published by the Columbus Dispatch on September 21, 2008. In the article, a US-version of Hunchback is listed among others as being in development, "Disney's first original foreign-language production, which ran from 1999 to 2002 in Berlin, is being revamped for its U.S. premiere."[3] In a recent interview, Alan Menken confirmed an American revival coming soon to New York. No casting has been announced.[citation needed]

Tarzan[edit]

The show was based on the movie of the same name and the novel Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and debuted on Broadway on May 10, 2006 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show was heavily publicized with Phil Collins and the lead actors promoting the new musical on several media shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Live with Regis and Kelly. After playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre for over a year the show closed on July 8, 2007.[4]

On April 15, 2007 the musical debuted in Europe in the Netherlands as the successor of The Lion King in Scheveningen. A Broadway musical had never previously arrived in the Netherlands so soon after its Broadway premiere. Phil Collins was a special guest at the 2006 Johnny Kraaijkamp Musical Award s. There he announced the news that Tarzan was coming to the Netherlands. Due to the size of the Circustheater, the show was expanded beyond the original Broadway production.

In 2008 a new production opened in Germany. A casting show on TV called "Ich Tarzan, Du Jane" ("I Tarzan, you Jane") searched for actors for the roles of Tarzan and Jane.

A revamped tour version had previously been announced to debut in January 2009 in Atlanta at the Theatre of the Stars. The new production was supposed to feature the same music and book, and directed and choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, with scenic design by Kenneth Foy, aerial design by Paul Rubin and lighting design by Ken Billington.[5] This production has since been canceled due to a supposed mismanagement of funds by Theatre of the Stars.[6]

The Little Mermaid[edit]

The musical began Broadway previews on November 3, 2007 and opened on January 10, 2008 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, even through trouble due to the Local One stagehands strike, which ended on November 28, 2007. The world premiere took place at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center of the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado. The show features all songs in the movie and will boast nine new songs written by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The book for the new musical is by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright, with direction by Francesca Zambello, choreography by Stephen Mear, scenic design by George Tsypin, costume design by Tatiana Noginova and lighting design by Natasha Katz. The musical on Broadway opened to mixed reviews.

The original Broadway cast featured Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula, Eddie Korbich as Scuttle, Sean Palmer as Prince Eric, Brian D'Addario and Major Curda as Flounder, and Tituss Burgess as Sebastian.

The musical closed on August 30, 2009 after 685 performances and 50 previews.[2] In 2012, a Dutch production premiered. This version was a new version, co-produced by Stage Entertainment.

Aladdin[edit]

In November 2010 Alan Menken confirmed that a musical theatre adaptation of the show is in the works with a book written by Chad Beguelin.[7] The show premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle from July 7 to July 31, 2011.[8] Another production played at the Muny Theatre in St. Louis from July 5 – 13, 2012.[9][10] The musical premiered on Broadway on February 26, 2014 (in previews) and officially on March 20, 2014 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, taking the place of Mary Poppins, which closed on March 3, 2013.[11][12][13][14] The musical had a pre-Broadway tryout at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto lasting from November 13, 2013 to January 12, 2014.[15] Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed, with Chad Beguelin writing the book and additional lyrics, Bob Crowley as the scene designer, and costume design by Gregg Barnes.[15][16]

Upcoming productions[edit]

The Jungle Book[edit]

Variety stated that there is an "Early-stages project [of] Jungle Book, a tuner version (with songs from the movie) to be written and directed by Mary Zimmerman ("Metamorphases")."[17] A joined mounting of the production will occur at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Huntington Theatre in Boston in 2013.

Frozen[edit]

On January 13, 2014 Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that a Broadway stage adaptation of the hit 2013 film Frozen is in early development stages.[18]

Live action adaptations[edit]

Mary Poppins[edit]

Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of Mary Poppins had its world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome starting with previews from September 15, 2004 before officially opening on September 18 for a limited engagement until November 6. The production then moved to the Prince Edward Theatre on December 15, 2004. It was announced in June 2007 that this production would close on January 12, 2008, after a run of more than three years.

A UK tour of Mary Poppins commenced in June 2008 and ended in April 2009.

The Broadway production opened on November 16, 2006, following a month of previews in the New Amsterdam Theater. The Broadway production closed on March 3, 2013 after 2,619 performances.[19][20] A North American tour of the show began at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre in March 2009.

An Australian production opened at Melbourne's Her Majesty's Theatre in July, 2010.

A Dutch production opened in April, 2010 at the Circus Theater in Scheveningen.

A Czech production opened at Brno City Theatre (Městské divadlo Brno) in November, 2010.

A Mexican production opened at Centro Cultural Telmex in November 14, 2012, with Bianca Marroquín as Mary.

An Icelandic production opened in February, 2013 at the Reykjavík City Theater. It is the most expensive, difficult and successful show to be produced in Iceland.

High School Musical[edit]

The hit Disney Channel movie High School Musical was adapted for the stage in 2007. It had its world professional premiere at the Theatre of the Stars in Atlanta, Georgia. A US tour began on August 1, 2007 and ended on August 3, 2008. A West End production opened in July for a limited run. High School Musical has performed internationally in Japan, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Netherlands and South Korea.

High School Musical is licensed through Music Theatre International and has been performed by over 5,000 theaters throughout the world. Currently there is a Full Length version, One-Act Edition and JR one-hour version designed specifically for middle-school aged performers.

High School Musical 2[edit]

A stage version of the sequel movie High School Musical 2 was released as a stage version in October 2008. Like the original, the show exists in a full length version, One-Act Edition and a one-hour long JR version designed for middle-school aged performers and is licensed through Music Theatre International.

Newsies[edit]

The show, based on the 1992 film, features a book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman. A reading of the musical was held in New York on December 10, 2010.[21] The musical premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn, New Jersey), in September 2011 with Jeff Calhoun as director. "Disney representatives stated that the production was not eyeing a Broadway berth, but is being explored as a property for licensing by professional and amateur groups."[22] However, due to enthusiastic reviews, the show opened on Broadway and will play the Nederlander Theatre with an open-ended run.[23][24][25] The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, winning Best Choreography and Best Original Score.

Upcoming productions[edit]

The Muppets[edit]

In 2013, Disney Theatrical revealed that a show based on The Muppets was in active development and that a 15-minute show had been conducted by Thomas Schumacher to see how the technical components would work out.[26]

Alice in Wonderland[edit]

Disney Theatrical is already in early talks with Burton and screenwriter Linda Woolverton, to develop the 2010 film of the same name into a Broadway musical. Woolverton authored the screenplay for Disney's The Lion King and is also the Tony Award-nominated book writer of Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and Lestat. Burton will also render the overall designs for the stage musical. Woolverton will adapt her screenplay for the stage production. Neither a composer nor songwriting team has been chosen yet. Robert Jess Roth is set to helm the stage musical that will have choreography by Matt West. The duo also collaborated on Disney's first Broadway outing: Beauty and the Beast.[17] No casting has been announced.

Father of the Bride[edit]

A stage musical version of the film is in development with Bartlett Sher as expected director.[27]

Freaky Friday[edit]

A musical version of the film, with a book by Bridget Carpenter and a score by Ryan Scott Oliver, was expected to have a "developmental production" at the La Jolla Playhouse in spring 2012. Christopher Ashley was named as "likely" to be the director.[27]

Other adaptations[edit]

King David[edit]

King David is a musical, sometimes described as a modern oratorio, with a book and lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Alan Menken. The musical is based on Biblical tales from the Books of Samuel and 1 Chronicles, as well as text from David's Psalms.

Aida[edit]

Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, it tells the story of a Nubian slave who falls in love with an Egyptian captain. It was written by Elton John and Tim Rice. It began previews on February 25, 2000 and officially opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on March 23, 2000. Aida closed on September 5, 2004 and ran for a total of 30 previews and 1852 performances. The Broadway production won four Tony Awards including Best Actress (Heather Headley), Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Music. Since its run on Broadway, it has had a U.S. national tour and productions around the world.[28][29][30]

On the Record[edit]

Debuting in November 2004, the show brought together sixty classic Disney songs from 1930 right up to 2004. They are woven together loosely by a storyline which is set in a recording studio with young (and old) performers using the songs to express their moods and the interrelationships among the characters they portray. The show played at the National Theatre in Washington D.C., as well as other theatres on a national tour.

Peter and the Starcatcher[edit]

Disney Theatrical Productions and La Jolla Playhouse (California) adapted Peter and the Starcatchers, which is a prequel to the Peter Pan story, into a play with music. The new play is written by Rick Elice, co-directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, and is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It was produced as part of La Jolla Playhouse's Page to Stage program, and ran from February 13, 2009 through March 8, 2009.[31] An Off Broadway production opened at New York Theatre Workshop [32] It moved to Broadway on April 15, 2012. The show ended its Broadway run on January 20, 2013, and reopened Off-Broadway once again at New World Stages in March 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hyperion Theatricals on Playbill Vault". 
  2. ^ Playbill.com Interview
  3. ^ Columbus Dispatch Article by Michael Grossberg
  4. ^ "Disney's 'Tarzan' to close July 8 on Broadway". USA Today. June 24, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew (2008-01-04). "Revamped Tarzan Will Debut in January 2009 in Atlanta". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam (2008-12-01). "American Musical Theatre of San Jose Cancels Productions of 42nd Street, Tarzan and Closes Doors". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  7. ^ BWW EXCLUSIVE: Alan Menken Talks TANGLED, SISTER ACT, LEAP OF FAITH, HUNCHBACK, ALADDIN & More
  8. ^ Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Premieres ALADDIN, 7/7-31
  9. ^ ALADDIN, CHICAGO, DREAMGIRLS et al. Set for Muny 2012 Season
  10. ^ 2012 Muny Season
  11. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Disney's 'Aladdin' Will Arrive on Broadway in February 2014" playbill.com, August 29, 2013
  12. ^ Disney's 'Aladdin' to seek a whole new world on Broadway
  13. ^ Rialto Chatter: ALADDIN to Hit Broadway Spring of 2014 with 'Major New Player' on Creative Team
  14. ^ Disney's Aladdin May Fly Into Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre Following Mary Poppins
  15. ^ a b Breaking News: Disney's ALADDIN to Play Pre-Broadway Tryout in Toronto Starting November 2013; Broadway Spring 2014
  16. ^ Disney's Aladdin Will Play Toronto This Fall Prior to 2014 Broadway Premiere Retrieved January 22, 2013
  17. ^ a b Cox, Gordon (March 12, 2011). "'Alice,' 'Freaky' head to stage". Variety. 
  18. ^ Gilbert, Ryan. "Dreams Do Come True! Disney Confirms Broadway Plans for Hit Movie Frozen" Broadway.com (January 13, 2014)
  19. ^ Mary Poppins to Fly Out of New Amsterdam Theatre; Aladdin Headed to Broadway
  20. ^ Official: MARY POPPINS to Close on March 3, 2013; Next Stop Regional Licensing with First 8 Productions Set
  21. ^ Rialto Chatter."BWW Exclusive: The Cast of Disney's NEWSIES Reading!" broadwayworld.com, December 8, 2010
  22. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Extra! Extra! Disney's 'Newsies' Will Debut at Paper Mill Playhouse" playbill.com, February 14, 2011
  23. ^ Read All About It: Disney's Newsies Gets Spring 2012 Broadway Engagement
  24. ^ Playbill.com Article
  25. ^ Extra, Extra! ‘Newsies’ Musical to Open Paper Mill Playhouse Season
  26. ^ Cox, Gordon (11 June 2013). "Disney Theatrical Eyeing Muppets On Stage (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  27. ^ a b Hetrick, Adam.[1] Variety.com, March 14, 2011
  28. ^ Ehren, Christine and Simonson, Robert."Aida Bids Addio to Los Angeles, Travels on to Boston, Philly, Chicago in 2002", playbill.com, January 5, 2002
  29. ^ Aida facts mtishows.com, accessed August 6, 2009
  30. ^ Aida tour listing timrice.co.uk, accessed August 6, 2009
  31. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Can He Fly? Disney and La Jolla Will Test Wings of Starcatchers — a Peter Pan Prequel", playbill.com, July 28, 2008
  32. ^ March 2011

External links[edit]