You might want to sit down for this one. This week has been busy on the Disney domain registration front. First we brought some very widely received news about several domains registered by Walt Disney Studios for potential upcoming projects, DreamWorks titles in the works and a possible name-change for Secretariat.
The New York Post reported earlier today that Disney Theatrical Productions is quietly working on a new Broadway musical based on the 1941 Disney animated classic Dumbo.
According to the article, Broadway director Stephen Daldry was approached for the project and was in talks prior to things breaking down and that the production company is continuing its search for a director to help bring Dumbo to the stage.
This past Thursday, actress, comedienne and co-host of ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg took the stage at the Minkskoff Theatre to perform in Disney’s The Liong Kingfor one night only.
The night’s special performance was introduced by Disney Theatrical president and producer Thomas Schumacher who first talked about how there have been over 10,000 shows produced in Broadway’s history and that out of those, only eight have gone on to host more than 5,000 performances and that The Lion King had just become number nine (which it did back in November). After noting that director Julie Taymor was also in the audience for the evening’s performance, Schumacher then went on to explain that the performance was being taped for The View and outlined the three cameos Goldberg would be appearing in throughout the show.
On this morning’s episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg announced she will be appearing in the Broadway production of The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre for one night only. During the evening performance on January 14, 2010, Goldberg will make a series of surprise cameos throughout the popular musical. Her rehearsal experience is being recorded to air as a special presentation as part of The View next week.
Goldberg is no stranger to either the stage, nor The Lion King, having originated the character of Shenzi the hyena.
On January 22, Disney Theatrical Productions invites D23 Members to attend a special performance of Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Members will receive a 20% discount on select seats in various seating locations throughout the theatre as well as a voucher good for 20% off all merchandise at the show.
Members will also get an exclusive post-show experience with the Mary Poppins cast and a top-secret surprise guest. D23 won’t say who it is, but only that he appeared in the original film. Could it be Dick Van Dyke? Maybe, but our money is on the man with a wooden leg named Smith.
Editor’s Note: Please don’t let the horrible title take away from the significance of this momentous occasion. They can’t all be winners.
Variety recently reported that Disney Theatrical has licensed its full-lengthed and abridged staged versions of its Broadway and Film classics aimed at elementary schools through professionals to 20,000 licensees to date.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 — In a special ceremony today, Disney Theatrical Productions donated objects from the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical “The Lion King” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Costume elements from the show’s protagonist Simba and the tribal shaman Rafiki will join objects from the musicals “Cats,” “Rent” and the “King and I” in the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.
Designed by Julie Taymor, the costume components include Simba’s stylized lion mask and headdress — co-designed by Michael Curry — and the costume, custom shoes and hat designed for Rafiki. The donated items were conceived for the original Broadway production of “The Lion King,” which opened Nov. 13, 1997.
“Taymor’s designs bring the story of Simba the lion cub, fulfilling his destiny to become king in the African Pride Lands, to life,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “This donation is a significant addition to the museum’s entertainment collection and joins materials representative of Broadway hits.”
The Simba mask-headdress is made of carbon graphite, a lightweight but durable material cast from a silicone mold, paint and polyester fibers. The Rafiki costume is made of cotton fabric, decorated with metal amulets and a horsehair collar. The hat is made of textured kente cloth, and the custom shoes are made of rubber.
It’s being widely reported that Disney Theatrical has opted to close the show with August 30 being the final performance after an almost two year run in an effort to avoid losses during the ‘slowdown season.’ Tickets for performances sold beyond August 30 are eligible for a refund.
Sierra Boggess, who originated the role of Ariel, has recently left the show after extending her intial performances.
It is expected that there will be a touring production of the musical commencing late 2010.
Last night, Disney’s D23 simultaneously held events for members in New York and Chicago during a presentation of the Disney Theatrical version of Mary Poppins. For the price of a regular ticket, D23 members were offered preferred seating for the actual performance, offered merchandise discounts, complimentary merchandise (in New York, this was a copy of the DVD) and a backstage experience complete with a meet & greet.
This also happened to be my first time seeing the show. Since it opened, the show has received a lukewarm reception at best and I had heard it all – the house was a star, the show’s plot takes a sharp departure from the film and there are scenes that get downright creepy (although scary is usually the adjective I hear).
On Tuesday, June 9, Disney Theatrical will make a compilation of 19 tracks from the original cast recordings of all of its Broadway shows from the past fifteen years. That’s music from Beauty and the Beast, Aida, the Lion King, Tarzan, Mary Poppins and the Little Mermaid.
In addition, iTunes will have exclusive bonuses available such as a previously unreleased version of ‘Feed the Birds’ as performed by Ashley Brown, who originated the role of Mary Poppins. iTunes will also offer a video clip of a performance of ‘Step in Time’ from the show itself.