Disney Announces New Productions in the Works
Disney fans are celebrating as Disney Theatricals last week announced a series of new productions they are currently working on. The recent announcement comes only months after Disney’s announcement of both Aladdin and Newsies being turned into stage musicals as well. With this list of new productions in the works, Disney has officially left their fans asking which of their favorites will be coming to Broadway next as Disney plans it’s EPIC Broadway comeback.
So what is Disney Theatricals history? Disney Theatricals began in 1994 with Disney’s debut on Broadway by telling the greatest story ever told as Beauty and the Beast. Disney then proceeded to produce the mega Broadway hit The Lion King in 1997. Disney Theatrical went international in 1999 opening a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin. Back in America, the new century rang in with a new Disney original production AIDA. In 2004, Disney took a new spin on Broadway with their revue show On the Record. In 2006, Disney climbed to new heights as they brought Tarzan to life on the Broadway stage. Disney went back to being international opening Mary Poppins in 2004 in the West End and having it officially transfer to Broadway in 2006. And finally Disney took a dive in 2007 bringing The Little Mermaid to life on Broadway.
So what exactly is Disney’s next epic adventure?
First up on Disney’s Broadway list: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As previously reported on by Luner on Theatre, Disney is currently in the works to stage the Tim Burton version of the classic story. Disney is working with Tim Burton who is on board to oversee the production and help set the overall design aspects. However, he will not sign on to direct the piece. Also on board to work the production as Beauty and the Beast veterans Linda Woolverton for the book, Robert Roth for the set design and Matt West will choreograph. To view the Luner on Theatre article, click here. The Alice in Wonderland production is reported to be on the top of list for Disney’s productions to head to Broadway as soon as possible. Once any further information is known, Luner on Theatre will report back with more information.
Next Up: Dumbo! While this was shocking to many of you, to us it wasn’t! Disney announced these plans in early 2010 that they were seeking the Broadway stage for the flying elephant. The film which was produced in animation in 1941 by Walt Disney was only the 4th edition to the Disney animated series. The story of the elephant that gains media attention after a circus spectacular act is a classic in the Disney history. Disney will most likely be using some very advance sort of flying mechanisms. The official word released so far about the production is that is that it is still in the works. It will also feature a book by Michael Chabon. The production will be directed by Stephen Daldry and feature choreography by Peter Darling with Bob Crowley designing. Luner on Theatre will report back with more information once it is known for this future production.
Another one on the list for Broadway? Yes! What is it? Father of the Bride! The 1991 film which featured such stars as Steve Martin, Martin Short and Diane Keaton is the story of George Banks, a father who doesn’t want to accept that idea of his daughter Annie growing up. Annie decides to marry Bryan MacKenzie after only knowing him for 3 months. As wedding expenses rise and stuff gets crazy including a weddding at their own home, George learns to accept the fact that his daughter has grown up and has to live life. Even less is known about this production; only the fact that Bartlett Sher is set to direct. Steve Martin, who starred in the movie, recently talked about the Disney announcement and talked about how amazing the final scene of the production would be. “Can you imagine the closing scene on stage with the wedding and the music? Everyone would be crying and I’d be crying too because I’m not in it.” Steve Martin obviously hinting to Disney Theatricals that he wants in on this new production. He also said he just thinks the idea in general is a terrific one. Luner on Theatre will report back once more is known about this production.
Now for Disney’s new regional production ideas….
First up: how about Disney’s Freaky Friday?! Yes, thats right! Based on the hot 2003 Disney film of the same name, Disney is planning launching this hot new musical sometime in 2012. A lot is known about this new Disney production currently in the works. It will premiere at La Jolla Playhouse with direction by Christopher Ashley who recently directed Broadway’s hit new musical Memphis. The musical will also feature music by Ryan Scott Oliver and a book by Bridget Carpenter. Exciting! Isn’t it?! The 2003 movie was a huge success starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis.The story goes inside the lives of a mother and daughter who are switched only on the inside and are caught and have to experience each others lives as they battle to understand what the other deals with. Luner on Theatre will report back more on this production once more is known about it.
Next up regional wise: The Jungle Book! No surprise for true Disney fans here! The musical will be based off of the famous 1967 animated Walt Disney film. The movie was the 19th film in the Walt Disney animation series. The movie boosts such famous musical numbers as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You”. The musical actually already exists in a kids version and is already available for licensing to groups for performances. The story of the jungle animals and creatures alive with song and dance is a classic that is not only meaningful but fun for all. This production would serve really well and would be a strong stage adaptation of a popular film. Barely anything is known about the production besides the fact that Mary Zimmerman has signed on to write the book and direct the production. Luner on Theatre will report back on any production information once it becomes further known.
Next up for Disney’s regional circuit: A NEW Little Mermaid musical! What? Yes! Apparently…! Disney fans were shocked with this new announcement of a new Little Mermaid musical. Disney just recently produced The Little Mermaid on Broadway in 2007 which ran till early 2009. The musical adaption received mixed reviews with some saying it brought to life the classic Disney film and others saying it completely killed a lot of the movie’s original points. The musical is based off of the 1989 film which portrays the story of a young mermaid in search of love. When her love is in trouble, she risks everything by even departing the sea to follow her love while dealing with the wrath of her father and various other underwater villains. The NEW musical adaptation already seems to have a lot of shape with it being announced that it will feature a book writer Doug Wright. Bob Crowley is on board as a designer for the production and Glenn Casale is set to direct. While it is believed the production is for mostly regional circuits, it’d be more then interesting to see what would happen if Disney tried to return Little Mermaid to the stage so soon after their recent adaptation of it. Luner on Theatre will report back once anymore information is known about this production.
Another production in the works: The Hunchback of Notre Dame! American Disney fans have been waiting for this announcement for years now. Ever since Disney’s Hunchback premiered in Germany in 1999, Disney fans in America have wondered when Disney would transfer a production of the show to the states. Well, that day has finally come. While this production is currently aimed for regional circuits, it is no doubt the production would succeed on Broadway if executed well. However, it is being rumored that the American production will be nothing like the production that took place in Berlin. This might not be to bad considering the growing rep Hunchback has received in the United States as a haunted show something along the lines of Macbeth or such. Stephen Schwartz is the frontman for the new production as it is being rumored he will work all the music for it. Schwartz did the lyrics for the original movie. I would not be surprised if Alan Menken somehow found his way into this production. He wrote the original music for the movie and the score as well. Te musical would be based after the 1996 film of the same name. The film was the 34th movie to be placed in the Walt Disney Animation collection. This production would definitely be most exciting to see come to life on the American stage. Luner on Theatre will report back once ore information is known about this production.
And thats a wrap! Don’t also forget that earlier this year Disney made two major production announcements as well when they announced both Aladdin and Newsies were being worked into stage adaptations as well. Luner on Theatre previously reported on both of these news announcements. You can click here to view the article previously published about Disney’s Aladdin. And you can click here to view the article previously published about Disney’s Newsies. Both of this productions are also starting out at major regional circuits and potentially bound for a Broadway future despite Disney’s current denial such is taking place.
With all these new productions in the works, the future is looking bright for Disney Theatricals! All of these productions will help Disney work its way to becoming even more of a empire that it already is. Currently, Disney’s The Lion King and Mary Poppins are featured on Broadway. Both of these show’s rank weekly in the Top 5 grossing shows on Broadway and bring in millions of dollars there alone. This does not even include Disney’s various other productions of shows worldwide and no numbers merchandise wise as well. However, the entertainment giant is seeking a new day filled with many opportunities. All of this and more is in store with Disney’s latest announcement of shows currently in the works! Luner on Theatre will report back more once anything else is known about the future of any of these or another Disney shows.