Disney’s Destiny: Pixar Productions?

The name Disney & Pixar are just simply names that go together anymore. Something like peanut butter and jelly or Ying and Yang. However, while each company is well known in its own perspective, the pair is probably best known for their work together on movies over the past decade. Beginning in 1995 with Toy Story, the two companies have since to date produced 12 movies together. But this blog post is not about movies. Yesterday, I did a blog post about Disney & Pixar’s Finding Nemo: The Musical. A truly fantastic piece of theatre I think more people deserve to know about. However, I bet you also didn’t know that there is a Toy Story: The Musical. But thinking about both of these productions recently got me thinking on a much larger scale the question of, Is Disney’s Theatrical Destiny in Pixar Productions?

Let’s cover a little history first before we dive into this question. Disney & Pixar began their partnership in 1995 with their first movie together Toy Story. In 1998, the two produced A Bugs Life and in 1999 followed with a much anticipated sequel Toy Story 2. The new century brought many new films to the pair beginning with Monsters Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003 and The Incredibles in 2004. Beginning in 2006, Disney & Pixar managed to produce film after film each year with Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, WALL-E in 2008, Up in 2009, Toy Story 3 in 2010 and Cars 2 in 2011. Wow! Talk about some Epic history.

Recently, a few Disney & Pixar films have been converted into stage musicals. The two so far that have been converted, Finding Nemo & Toy Story, have both received positive reactions from both the business and entertainment side of things. And this is where I began thinking. While Disney has announced many of their new productions in the works (Click Here to Check Out Future Disney Productions) Could Disney’s Theatrical Destiny lay in Pixar Productions?

Disney & Pixar’s Finding Nemo: The Musical

Disney & Pixar’s Finding Nemo: The Musical first came about in the beginning of 2006 when it was rumored to be replacing Tarzan Rocks! at Disney’s Theatre in the Wild. The production was confirmed a few months later and the exciting announcement came that Tony Award Winning Composer Robert Lopez ( Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon) and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez would write new songs for the stage production. The production would “combine puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops”. Tony Award Winning director  Peter Brosius with Michael Curry, who is a puppet designer, signed on for the production as well. Curry, who created all the puppets used in the Tony Award Winning production The Lion King, was designated as lead puppet and production designer.

The production runs about 40 minutes and is performed five times a day. Lopez took direct inspiration from the movie for some of the songs such as “In the Big Blue World”“Fish Are Friends, Not Food”,“Just Keep Swimming” and “Go With the Flow”. However, there are many original songs in the show such as “Not My Dad” or “Where’s My Dad/We Swim Together”  that fit perfectly into the production and seem like they have always been there.

If you want to check out more of my thoughts on Disney & Pixar’s Finding Nemo: The Musical, click here to check out my previous article on it.

Disney & Pixar’s Toy Story: The Musical

Now heres another piece of theatre you should know about! Disney & Pixar’s Toy Story: The Musical came about in 2008 when Disney decided it would replace Hercules: The Muse-lcal on Disney’s Cruise Line The Disney Wonder. After a year of workshops and pre-production on the show, it opened officially in April of 2008 in The Walt Disney Theatre aboard The Disney Wonder. The production was directed by LA director  Stefan Novinski with Warren Adams choreographing the production. David O came aboard (Ha!) to help with the music direction and arranging for the production while Mindi Dickstein, a New York City playwright best known for penning the book and lyrics for Little Women: The Musical, wrote the book.

The 55 minute production includes many songs inspired directly from the movie such as “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”, “To Infinity and Beyond” and “The Claw”. There are also many original songs such as “One Toy”, “Thats Why We’re Here” and “Make A Little Noise”. Its difficult to find individual song clips online form Toy Story: The Musical, but you can search the production to view it in its entire form if you’d like.

You can also click here to check out a Behind the Scenes look into how Disney & Pixar executed their idea of Toy Story: The Musical.

Disney & Pixar Future Productions?

While I can’t be the one to exactly say which Disney & Pixar film would be the next to transfer into a stage musical, I can say that the two companies have quite a lot of options. And thats all most definitely for one important reason. While many musicals are adapted form movies, many a times this does not work out. Bad story plots and a lack of development in characters leads to a worse translation on stage then it did in the movie. This is because all you have on stage is the actor. Yes, lights are on, set pieces are moving but this is it. There is no “Cut! Let’s try that again guys”. Live theatre is the human nature at its rawest form. And a production can not thrive or be executed properly or most importantly tell the story unless there is a good story to tell. And thats where Disney & Pixar has their gold mine.

Every single Disney & Pixar production has a great story to tell. Even Disney & Pixar’s worst fim (Whichever that may be for you) is still an excellent film with an excellent story. This means that most of these stories could amount into incredible stage productions. Imagine the costumes of Monster Inc, the story behind Up, the technology that could be in WALL-E or the daring adventure of Toy Story 3. All Disney & Pixar films have the potential because their creators started out with one of the most essential pieces, a story.

Another incredible idea to think about is the technology and investment Disney & Pixar would be putting into each of these productions. You can see the photos above from both Finding Nemo & Toy Story and some of the technical effects for these productions are mind blowing. Nemo’s puppetry to Toy Story’s life like costumes, the technology invested into these production would be so incredible it’d be literally bringing these movies to life on stage.

Whil Disney Theatricals has already charted their course for their future productions, Disney may want to take a look into this potential option.While these may not be Broadway musicals they are creating here, Disney & Pixar does have the ability to create some truly fantastic regional and family pieces of theatre. Which Disney & Pixar movie do you think would do best if it was to be brought to life in a stage musical? Or question is, What Disney & Pixar production would you like to see become a stage musical? Tell Us! Before you know it, Disney & Pixar may be working their magic on their lastest creation yet which might just happen to be your favorite! Now thats what I call Magic!


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