Disney Theatrical Productions
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|Division of Disney Theatrical Group|
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Thomas Schumacher (President)|
|Parent||Disney Theatrical Group, Limited
(The Walt Disney Studios)
Disney Theatrical Productions Limited (DTP), also known as Disney on Broadway, is the flagship stageplay and musical production company of the Disney Theatrical Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a major business unit of The Walt Disney Company.
Founded in 1993 by longtime Disney Entertainment veteran Ron Logan 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Animation adaptations
- 3 Live action adaptations
- 4 Other adaptations
- 5 TV special
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Walt Disney Theatrical Production, Ltd. (DTP) was formed on February 8, 1993 with Ron Logan, Disney Park's live production head, as president to produce Beauty and the Beast: A New Musical. Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994. Disney Theatrical signed a 49-year revenue based lease for New Amsterdam Theatre in May 1995. The building was renovated by Disney Development Company. With The Lion King under consideration for the next Broadway adaption, Eisner ceded DTP to theater rooted Disney Animation president Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher, at their request, making them president and executive vice president of DTP respectively. In 1997, DTP reopened New Amsterdam with King David followed by The Lion King musical.
Peter Schneider was promoted to Disney Studios president in January 1999, while Thomas Schumacher was promoted to president of Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Theatrical Productions while both are made co-presidents of Disney Theatrical. On November 23, 1999, the corporate name was changed to Buena Vista Theatrical Group Limited, with Disney Theatrical Productions becoming a division of the group with the formation of Hyperion Theatricals in January 2000.
Schneider left Disney Theatrical in June 2001 to form his own theater production company partly funded by Disney. His first project there was developing and directing the stage version of Sister Act with Michael Reno. The musical had its official world premiere on November 3, 2006 at the Pasadena Playhouse, with it adding DTP as an associated presenter with its Broadway run.
Beauty and the Beast
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 ninth-longest run in Broadway history.
It has been performed internationally first in Melbourne, Australia and has also been performed in London, Vienna, 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
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, which later was replaced by Aladdin. It is now Broadway's third 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 has 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, Perth, Melbourne, Shanghai, Montreal, Tokyo, Paris, Nagoya, Russia, Seoul, Johannesburg, Las Vegas, Taipei, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Flagstaff, Madrid, Norway, Italy and São Paulo.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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." 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." The musical had its US premiere at La Jolla Playhouse from October 28 through December 7, 2014. The production was directed by Scott Schwartz and the creative team includes Chase Brock as the choreographer, Michael Kosarin as the music supervisor and arranger, Michael Starobin as the orchestrator, Alexander Dodge as the scenic designer, Alejo Vietti as the costume design Howell Binkley as the lighting designer, and Gareth Owen as the sound design. The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a workshop in February 2014. The La Jolla Playhouse production transferred to the Paper Mill Playhouse from March 4 through April 5, 2015.
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.
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. This production has since been canceled due to a supposed mismanagement of funds by Theatre of the Stars.
The Little Mermaid
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. In 2012, a Dutch production premiered.
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. The show premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle from July 7 to July 31, 2011. Another production played at the Muny Theatre in St. Louis from July 5 – 13, 2012. 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. The musical had a pre-Broadway tryout at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto lasting from November 13, 2013 to January 12, 2014. 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. It was also announced that the musical would open at London's West End officially in June 2016 at the Prince Edward Theatre, taking the place of the revival of Miss Saigon, which closed on 27th February 2016.
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. On February 12, 2015, it was announced that the Broadway musical will be directed by two-time Tony nominee Alex Timbers and is aiming for the Broadway show to open in 2017. It was announced also that the film's songwriters, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, will write new songs for the show. On February 9, 2016, it was announced that the musical is scheduled to open in spring 2018.
A private reading of the stage version of the musical Frozen was held in May 2016. "Elsa" was played by Betsy Wolfe and "Anna" was played by Patti Murin. The out of town tryout is expected to begin at the Denver Center Buell Theatre in August 2017, with the Broadway premiere at the St. James Theatre in spring 2018.
The Jungle Book
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")." A joined mounting of the production occurred at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the Huntington Theatre in Boston in 2013.
On July 2, 2015, Daily Mail UK announced that a musical version of Disney's Pinocchio will be presented by the Royal National Theatre in December 2016. The plot will be the mix of Disney's beloved 1940 film and the original novel with the songs, being both used & deleted songs from the movie and other songs from Disney. Creative team includes Tony winner John Tiffany as the director, Enda Walsh as the playwright of the book, Bob Crowley as set and costume designer, and Steven Hoggett as choreographer. A workshop took place in late 2015.
Despite this, the National Theatre's 2016-2017 season announcement showed no plans of the production being performed.
Live action adaptations
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. 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
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 performances.
High School Musical 2
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.
A musical version, based on the 2010 film Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam and features the songs from the first two Camp Rock films. The Gardiner Spring Auditorium in Ontario, California on August 5, 2010 and has performed internationally worldwide. The musical is licensed through Music Theatre International.
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. 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." However, due to enthusiastic reviews, the show opened on Broadway on March 29, 2012, at the Nederlander Theatre with an open-ended run. The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, winning Best Choreography and Best Original Score. Newsies gave its final performance on August 24, 2014.
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.
The Princess Bride
Alice in Wonderland
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. No casting has been announced.
Father of the Bride
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. A developmental lab is set for 31 March through 10 April 2015.
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 is a musical based on the opera of the same name by Giuseppe Verdi. It has music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang, and was originally produced by Walt Disney Theatrical.
On the Record
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
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. An Off Broadway production opened at New York Theatre Workshop  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.
Shakespeare in Love
In November 2013, Disney Theatrical Productions, announced plans to mount a stage version of the film Shakespeare in Love in London, with Sonia Friedman Productions as co-producer. The West End production played at the Noël Coward Theatre, with the world premiere scheduled for July 23, 2014. Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, it has been adapted for the stage by Lee Hall. The production is directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, the driving force behind the noted theatre company, Cheek by Jowl. However, it was announced that the production would close on 18 April 2015.
The television special Backstage with Disney On Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years aired in December 2014.
- Simonson, Robert (January 12, 1999). "Thomas Schumacher Promoted to Co-President of Disney Theatricals". Playbill. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- "Buena Vista Theatrical Group Ltd.". Business Entity search. New York Secretary of State. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- Wilson, Paige (February 4, 2015). "UCF Rosen professor a window into Walt Disney World". Central Florida Future. Gannett. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- Kennedy, Shawn G.; Lesser, Ellen C. (May 12, 1995). "Disney and Developer Are Chosen To Build 42d Street Hotel Complex". New York Times. p. B2. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
Disney has signed a 49-year lease to the 92-year-old New Amsterdam Theater, though it can get out of the deal by July 15 if certain conditions are not met.
- Singer, Barry (October 4, 1998). "Theater; Just Two Animated Characters, Indeed". New York Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
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- Isherwood, Charles (April 20, 2011). "Different Church, More Sequins". New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
- Playbill.com Interview
- Columbus Dispatch Article by Michael Grossberg
- "Paper Mill Season Will Feature Can-Can, Hunchback, Ever After, Vanya and Sonia and More". playbill.com. February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Patrick Page, Michael Arden, Ciara Renee & More to Lead THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at La Jolla Playhouse! Broadway World, September 4, 2014
- "Disney's 'Tarzan' to close July 8 on Broadway". USA Today. June 24, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- Gans, Andrew (2008-01-04). "Revamped Tarzan Will Debut in January 2009 in Atlanta". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- 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.
- BWW EXCLUSIVE: Alan Menken Talks TANGLED, SISTER ACT, LEAP OF FAITH, HUNCHBACK, ALADDIN & More
- Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Premieres ALADDIN, 7/7-31
- ALADDIN, CHICAGO, DREAMGIRLS et al. Set for Muny 2012 Season
- 2012 Muny Season
- Hetrick, Adam. "Disney's 'Aladdin' Will Arrive on Broadway in February 2014" playbill.com, August 29, 2013
- Disney's 'Aladdin' to seek a whole new world on Broadway
- Rialto Chatter: ALADDIN to Hit Broadway Spring of 2014 with 'Major New Player' on Creative Team
- Disney's Aladdin May Fly Into Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre Following Mary Poppins
- Breaking News: Disney's ALADDIN to Play Pre-Broadway Tryout in Toronto Starting November 2013; Broadway Spring 2014
- Disney's Aladdin Will Play Toronto This Fall Prior to 2014 Broadway Premiere Retrieved January 22, 2013
- Gilbert, Ryan. "Dreams Do Come True! Disney Confirms Broadway Plans for Hit Movie Frozen" Broadway.com, January 13, 2014
- Breaking News: FROZEN Aiming for the Stage by 2017; Alex Timbers to Direct! Broadway World, February 12, 2015
-  Daily Mail
- Cox, Gordon (February 9, 2016). "'Frozen' Musical Sets Broadway Timeline, Creative Team". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- Gans, Andrew. "Private Reading of Frozen Musical Held in NYC" Playbill, May 20, 2016
- Hetrick, Adam. "Disney’s 'Frozen' Names Tony-Winning Director and a Broadway Theatre" Playbill, September 27, 2016
- Cox, Gordon (March 12, 2011). "'Alice,' 'Freaky' head to stage". Variety.
- "Coming up at the NT: 2016 and Beyond". National Theatre blog. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- Mary Poppins to Fly Out of New Amsterdam Theatre; Aladdin Headed to Broadway
- Official: MARY POPPINS to Close on March 3, 2013; Next Stop Regional Licensing with First 8 Productions Set
- Rialto Chatter."BWW Exclusive: The Cast of Disney's NEWSIES Reading!" broadwayworld.com, December 8, 2010
- Hetrick, Adam."Extra! Extra! Disney's 'Newsies' Will Debut at Paper Mill Playhouse" playbill.com, February 14, 2011
- Read All About It: Disney's Newsies Gets Spring 2012 Broadway Engagement
- Playbill.com Article
- Extra, Extra! ‘Newsies’ Musical to Open Paper Mill Playhouse Season
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- Hetrick, Adam. "Disney Remains Attached to The Princess Bride Stage Adaptation" Playbill.com, August 8, 2014
- Hetrick, Adam. Variety.com, March 14, 2011
- Christopher Ashley Set to Helm Developmental Lab of Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey's FREAKY FRIDAY Musical Broadway World, Retrieved February 4, 2015
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- March 2011
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- Cox, Gordon (July 7, 2014). "First Look: 'Shakespeare in Love' on the West End". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2014.