Disney Theatrical Productions Limited, also known as Disney on Broadway, is the 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
Beauty and the BeastEdit
- Main article: 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 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, São 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 KingEdit
- Main article: 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 Theatre 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. 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 and Madrid.
Der Glöckner von Notre DameEdit
- Main article: Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
The show was based on the animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It premiered in Berlin, Germany in 1999. This was adapted into a darker, more gothic musical production, re-written and directed by James Lapine and produced by Stella Entertainment, in Berlin, Germany. Considered to be a great boost for tourists in Germany, the musical Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (translated in English as The Bellringer of Notre Dame) was very successful and played from 1999 to 2002, before closing. A cast recording was also recorded in German.
- Main article: Tarzan
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 Today, 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 Awards. 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 MermaidEdit
- Main article: 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 will premiere. This version will be a new version, co-produced by Stage Entertainment.
- Main article: Aladdin
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 show will come to Broadway in 2014 with Adam Jacobs (The Lion King) as Aladdin, and Courtney Reed (Mamma Mia) as Princess Jasmine.
Upcoming productions Edit
- Main article: Frozen
In January 2014, Iger stated that Disney Theatrical Productions is in early development of a Broadway stage musical adaptation of Frozen. No specific date has yet been set for this adaptation. "We're not demanding speed," Iger said. "We're demanding excellence.
During Disney's February 2014 earnings call, Iger congratulated "all those involved with Frozen" and reiterated that it would "be going to Broadway. He also noted that Frozen "has real franchise potential" and predicted that "You will see Frozen in more places than you've certainly seen today.
At the end of March 2014, Del Vecho confirmed that there had been "discussions on how we can support the [film's] characters at other locations [and] [w]e are also discussing making a theatrical [musical] version of Frozen, but these things take time. In late June, Anderson-Lopez and Lopez said there will be a musical based on Frozen within "a few years".
In an October 2014 interview, Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Group, disclosed that discussions about a musical had begun even before the film was released almost a year earlier. After watching Frozen at a pre-release midnight screening, he texted Lasseter at 1:30 a.m. with "When can we start?" and got a call back from Lasseter within 60 seconds. Schumacher explained: "My job is to corral the writers of the movie. I'm already talking to directors, and I have a design concept, and we have to begin to fashion this idea. It doesn't need to be fast. It needs to be great.
On February 12, 2015, the Daily Mail reported that Lopez, Anderson-Lopez, Lee, and Schumacher had been meeting with two-time Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers to discuss ideas for getting the musical into a theatre by 2017. The next day, Schumacher issued a terse statement confirming only that the songwriters were working on the show and that Lee would be writing the book of the stage version, then stressed that "no other staffing or dates have been announced".
On July 23, 2015, The New York Times reported that among various projects, the songwriters were "writing about a dozen new songs" for the Frozen musical.
On February 9, 2016, Disney Theatrical announced that the musical was scheduled to open on Broadway in spring 2018. At that time, Disney also confirmed that several additional people were now part of the musical's creative team, including Timbers as director, as well as Stephen Oremus, Peter Darling, Bob Crowley, and Natasha Katz. Two days later, it was confirmed that the musical would first go through a pre-Broadway tryout in August 2017 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. In April 2016, it was reported that Betsy Wolfe had been cast as Elsa, but a Disney spokesperson said on April 26 that no roles have been officially cast.
On April 25, the songwriters mentioned to an interviewer that they were about to head into a developmental lab next week for the musical. Anderson-Lopez explained that while "the movie only has seven-and-a-half songs ... we’ve written about 23" for the musical," in the sense that they doubled the number of original songs and then there are reprises of those. Lopez explained that the musical would follow the same story as the film, but they were adapting all the iconic moments from the film to the musical theatre environment. It was later reported that the musical's first developmental lab was held over two weeks during May 2016 in New York City, with Betsy Wolfe as Elsa, Patti Murin as Anna, Okieriete Onaodowan as Kristoff, and Greg Hildreth as Olaf, and that Iger himself attended the lab at one point. However, Disney had not yet committed to a cast for the Denver tryout production.
On September 27, 2016, Disney announced the new creative team: Michael Grandage is the director and Christopher Oram is the scenic designer. Christopher Gattelli had been previously announced as choreographer. (Alex Timbers and Bob Crowley are no longer involved.) The musical will open on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. On April 17, 2017, Disney on Broadway announced that Caissie Levy will star as Elsa and Patti Murin would portray Anna. Other cast-members will include Jelani Alladin as Kristoff, Greg Hildreth as Olaf, John Riddle as Hans and Robert Creighton as the Duke of Weselton. Rob Ashford also joined the creative team as the show's choreographer.
To be announced
In March 2011, Gordon Cox of Variety officially announced that Disney will produce Dumbo which “will see Michael Chabon penning the book for the "Billy Elliot" duo of director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling. Bob Crowley ("Aida," "Mary Poppins") designs.”
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." 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." In a recent interview, Alan Menken confirmed an American revival coming soon to New York. No casting has been announced.
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")."
Live action adaptations Edit
- Main article: Mary Poppins
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. 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 Magesty'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.
High School MusicalEdit
- Main article: High School Musical on Stage!
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 10, 2008. A West End production opened in July for a limited run. High School Musical has performed internationally in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, and Australia.
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 2Edit
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.
- Main article: Newsies
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 and will play the Nederlander Theatre with an open-ended run. The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, winning only Best Choreography and Best Original Score.
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.
Alice in Wonderland Edit
Disney Theatrical is already in early talks with Burton and screenwriter Linda Woolverton, to develop the hit 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 Edit
A stage musical version of the film is in development with Bartlett Sher as expected director.
Freaky Friday Edit
- Main article: Freaky Friday
A musical version of the film, with a book by Bridget Carpenter and a score by Ryan Scott Oliver, is expected to have a "developmental production" at the La Jolla Playhouse next season. Christopher Ashley is named as "likely" to be the director. On January 13th, 2016 it was announced that the offical world premier would happen later that year at the Signature Theater (DC). The limited run opens on October 4th and runs through the 13th of November.
Original productions Edit
- Main article: King David
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.
- Main article: Aida
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.
- Main article: 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.
- Main article: 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 The Broadway production is expected to begin previews on March 28, 2012 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
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