Speculation: ‘Newsies’ Stage Musical Heading to Disney Parks in 2011
Sometimes we manage to weave a tale so peculiar and convoluted that we can barely believe it ourselves. This is one of them.
Enter the 1992 cult-classic Disney musical, Newsies. Back in March of 2010, we first reported about Disney Theatrical working on a staged adaptation of the film, purportedly destined for Broadway. This was later confirmed to be true and announced earlier this year that the musical would premiere this fall at the Paper Mill Playhouse (September 15 – October 16, to be exact).
Which then begs the question, what of the show come mid-October? If you’re still with us, great, because all of this is standard, known stuff.
Now here’s where it begins to get weird. The Walt Disney Company recently filed for a trademark on Newsies for the purposes of ‘entertainment in the nature of theater productions’ (view it here). The kicker is that the individual named as the correspondent, Barbara Quinn, is responsible for all of the trademarks for Disney Parks and Resorts. This is something we simply know from following all of the trademark registrations for the company. Quinn is responsible for the Parks while other individuals are responsible for their own respective business units. To our knowledge, this has never waivered. Therefore, Newsies must be gearing up for a presence in the parks.
Whereto then? Although one could accept this to mean anywhere in the domestic parks including the Disney Cruise Line, timing is somewhat convenient for the Hyperion Theatre at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.
Disneyland previously announced through the official Disney Parks Blog that Aladdin would be closing (last year) to make way for Toy Story, a musical adaptation initially created for the Disney Wonder. That item was soon retracted and it was announced that Aladdin would stay indefinitely.
We do know, however, from casting notices issued by the parks, that current cast members of Aladdin are contracted through early November, leaving big question marks as to what will become of the show after that. The face that Newsies ends its run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Mid-October seems to be a more-than-convenient coincidence.
Could Newsies be moving in to the Hyperion Theatre later this year? It’s possible, but still a stretch. Firstly, Disney Theatrical, who is producing the adaptation, does not create shows for the parks. That task is traditionally performed by a department known as Disney Creative Entertainment (DCE) (in fact, from an organizational perspective, Disney Theatrical answers to Walt Disney Studios). Secondly, the length of a traditional staged show generally runs quite a bit longer than that of one in the park — even Aladdin was quite a time bandit at a length of ~50 minutes.
Still, another possibility is that a theater could be created in the Downtown Disney District of either Disneyland or Walt Disney World and the show can be staged at full length with its own separate admission, a la Cirque du Soleil (thanks to @terryweaver).