We have been talking about a staged adaptation by Disney Theatrical for nearly three years now, prior to its original incarnation at the 5th Avenue Theater in 2011. Since then, it has had several runs around the world and has consistently been edited as it continued to meet mixed reviews. Its reported lackluster performances fueled doubts when we relayed composer Alan Menken’s informal announcement last summer that it would in fact be headed for Broadway. Even after a reported leak which led to confirmation that ‘Mary Poppins’ would see its final Broadway curtain call on March 3, Disney Theatrical was slow to acknowledge that ‘Aladdin’ was waiting impatiently in the wings.
The show will feature music by Alan Menken; lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin with a book by Beguelin. Casey Nicholaw will direct and choreograph.
This will be the first staging of this full-length two-act ‘Aladdin.’ Nicholaw and the writers had previously collaborated on a pilot production of the musical at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in summer 2011, mounted for a limited run with the goal of trying out new material and structure. The Broadway version will be an entirely new production featuring a new script, tunestack and a wholly original design scaled to the Broadway stage and an epic story. ‘Aladdin’ will feature a full Broadway score including the five beloved songs from the film.
Aladdin will be designed by six-time Tony® winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, three-time Tony winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis.
The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer and hair designer Josh Marquette. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who will also create the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.
Before it opens on Broadway in spring 2014, however, it will play in Toronto for nine weeks at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon) November 13, 2013 to January 12, 2014 and will open at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre in 2014.
Fans are encouraged to sign up up for email alerts at www.aladdinbroadway.com.
We had been talking about Disney Theatrical producing a musical based on Disney Animation’s Aladdin for years, so it came as little shock to us when the production became fully realized at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater in early 2011.
Since then, the show has been re-tooled and has played at various regional theaters, but it wasn’t until a special private event for members of Disney’s official fan club, Disney D23, last summer, that we had any inkling that it was destined for Broadway (in truth, we believed a touring production would be as far as the plans went).
The event featured an intimate performance by composer Alan Menken, who introduced the song ‘Proud of Your Boy’ (cut from the original animated film) as being prepped for a Broadway production — a statement we took none too lightly, considering Menken’s stature in the theatrical community.
Fast forward to yesterday, when the New York Times published this article, confirming via anonymous inside sources that ‘Aladdin’ is indeed headed to the Broadway stage, replacing Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater.
It should be noted that there has been no official announcement from Disney Theatrical yet as they have declined to comment both on the New York Times story as well as our own.
Video courtesy of and h/t to @jellicle0
UPDATE: Via its official Facebook page, Mary Poppins has acknowledge the show will have its final performance on March 3, 2013
On November 13, 1997, Disney brought the staged, musical adaptation of its animated smash, The Lion King, to Broadway. Fifteen years later, it is now the the fifth longest-running musical in Broadway history, contains to sell out nightly and consistently has one of the top box-office intakes out of the dozens of theatrical offerings on Broadway alone.
As a thank you to the tens of millions of theater-goers who have seen the show as well as the millions more who will, Disney Theatrical has produced a free, time-limited exhibit appropriately titled ‘Inside The Lion King.’ Located at the corner of 42nd St and Sixth Ave in Manhattan, the exhibit gives visitors unprecedented access to not only ‘The Lion King,’ but the entire theatrical process. From concept design to modeling and mock-ups to fully realized costumes, the exhibit virtually makes the visitor part of the backstage experience itself. Here, photography is not only allowed, but encouraged, as is the ability to touch the costumes themselves and explore how they are constructed.
The individual displays are arranged around the exhibition by logical groupings as evidenced by the free exhibition ‘guide map’ handed out. Although the map has sections laid out in a circle, life appears to be more of a square. The map also encourages photos in particular with the Rafiki and Scar wax figures (on loan from Madam Tussauds) along with the adult Simba costume, but the truth is every step along the way is a virtual photo-op here, in particular with Zazu and Bertha, the elephant.
As guests travel around the exhibition, they’ll encounter several exhibition staff members willing to share information and enthusiasm about the musical. One of the several facts I personally heard over and over was that it takes four performers to operate Bertha [the elephant] — that’s one in each leg. In addition to the staff, there are two interactive touch-screen operated kiosks located towards the exit which offer up a wealth of information about the show across several categories.
While costumes and other artifacts make up the perimeter of the exhibit, the center portion of the room is dedicated to show merchandise — it is Disney after all. Virtually every item that can be purchased while attending the show is available to purchase here, though to be honest, the items are available through limited online channels as well. In either case, it’s a far broader offering than the limited theatrical merchandise one would find at the Disney Store in Times Square, making this a great place for a last-minute holiday gift or Christmas tree ornament. There is, however, one exclusive tshirt for the exhibit itself, offered only here. On a confusing side note, purchases seem to show up on statements as ‘Sister Act merchandise.’ From what I am told there are no discounts beyond Disney Cast Member, but there is a purchase with purchase offer: a reusable ‘The Lion King’ tote for $5 with any purchase. That said, it might be worth checking in towards the close of the exhibition just to be sure on any of the 2012. Another reason to stop by the exhibition is that tickets to the shows’ performances are being sold at the exhibit’s exit.
The exhibition will also play host to several workshops geared towards children aged six and up. For more information and for the current schedule, you can visit the official exhibition page.
‘Inside the Lion King’ is open daily from now through December 16 from 10 am – 8 pm, with limited hours on December 3 for private events. Admission is free.
Below is our gallery of images from the exhibit which represent a sample of what’s available to see hands-on, along with a video showing some of the highlights.
Disney Theatrical’s ‘Newsies’ has announced that it will be taping a performance on the morning of Friday, November 2 as part of the CBS Thanksgiving Parade special. The cast will perform ‘King of New York’ to a very lucky, intimate crowd of just 75 ‘fansies’ at the Nederlander Theatre located at 208 W 41st Street in Manhattan, between 7th and 8th Avenues.
According to the event page from their official Facebook page, the taping will occur between 10 am and 11:30 am and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis only, with lines forming at 9 am. Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information on the performance, visit the official event page.
Last night, Alan Menken held an intimate performance as part of the ‘Destination D’ event at the Disneyland Resort, held by Disney D23, the official fan club of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). After wowing the attending crowd with music from decades of his Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winning career (he holds the record for having the most Oscars (living)), he closed the show with ‘Proud of Your Boy,’ a song that was intended for the original 1992 film, but was cut due to story changes.
It was when introducing the song that Menken mentioned the musical is currently being tweaked for a Broadway run, according to reports from attendees. A new staged version of the musical was produced by Disney Theatrical and premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle last year, but no aspirations for Broadway were anywhere to be found — at best, a national tour; at worst, licensing to regional theater. Howard Ashman’s sister, Sarah, wrote about the musical on her tribute blog, Part Of Your World, and some of the changes that were incorporated into it that deviate it from the beloved animated film. In addition to ‘Proud of Your Boy,’ three other songs that were initially cut have been reinstated along: Call Me A Princess; High Adventure; and Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim, which brings along the three non-Aladdin characters with it.
After a brief run at The Muny in July, the musical is now in production at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Utah through mid-October and has managed to incorporate the use of 3D glasses for the Cave of Wonders and Genie’s ‘Friend Like Me’ song, courtesy of former Walt Disney Imagineer Geoff Puckett, according to the fan-based Aladdin Musical blog.
Still, prior to last night, there wasn’t so much as an inkling that it would soon find itself on the Great White Way. Actually, an inkling may in fact have been all there was, as a thread on Broadway World points to a cryptic message at the end of a recent video update from 5th Avenue Theatre (UPDATE – The upcoming musical in question was ‘A Christmas Story,’ so video removed):
Photo by @jellicle0
UPDATE #1 – 8/17/12 – Since there is so much interest in the article, we are now adding an audio recording from that evening’s performance in which Menken mentions the shift to Broadway. Had most anyone else said it, we would chalk it up to confusing Broadway as a generic theatrical production, but Menken probably knows the difference by now. So without further ado, here is Menken performing ‘Somebody’s Got Your Back’ and ‘Proud of Your Boy’ from Disney’s Aladdin:
As a post script, we have also received reports that employees at Tuacahn are freely talking about working closely with Disney Theatrical to bring the musical directly to Broadway.
It will be the quintessential example of life imitating art, but we have learned that Disney Theatrical may have intentions of bringing the Muppets to the theater with possible Broadway and national tour.
It was the third Muppet film, Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), in which Kermit the Frog wrote a musical titled ‘Manhattan Melodies’ and gained aspirations to bringing it to the Great White Way. Hilarity ensued and so did the Muppet Babies.
The speculative news comes once more via secretive domain name registrations. Amongst several new registrations are THEMUPPETSONBROADWAY.COM and THEMUPPETSONTOUR.COM. Although there is nothing in the actual registrations to tie them directly to Disney, we have reasons strong enough to report them as likely being legitimate.
The real question is just how Disney Theatrical plans on bringing The Muppets to stage, particularly Broadway, without cheapening (in a non-Muppety way) the experience. While puppets commanding the stage isn’t unprecedented (take ‘Avenue Q’ for example), it’d be difficult to replace any of the core puppeteers who are identified with each character with others. Unlike ‘Avenue Q,’ the Muppets also tend to keep the puppeteers hidden when performing, so while track is possible, it will ultimately cheapen the experience and takes out the potential bonus of improv. What could happen is a limited run with performances by the actual talent, coupled with a small national tour, but it would be hard to expect much more than that.
Other possible titles being worked on for the stage by Disney Theatrical include 101 Dalmatians (101dalmatiansonbroadway.com and 101dalmatiansontour.com), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (bedknobsandbroomsticksonbroadway.com, bedknobsandbroomsticksontour.com, bedknobsandbroomsticksthemusical.com) and Pinocchio (pinocchioonbroadway.com and pinocchioontour.com). Similar registrations were also made for ‘Bell, Book and Candle,’ which has been staged before and does not appear to belong to Disney Theatrical, but is now apparently being worked into a musical version which could simply be a licensed project not yet announced (bellbookandcandleonbroadway.com, bellbookandcandleontour.com, bellbookandcandlethemusical.com).
This is a follow-up to our initial report we provided two years ago which listed lots of potential projects for Disney Theatrical based on its films, many of which were either known to be in development or later announced as such.
The MP3 downloadable version of the original cast recording of ‘Newsies’ is now available to own for $5.99 for a limited time on Amazon.com.
The musical, which made its debut on Broadway earlier this year, is nominated for a total of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Harvey Fierstein), Best Original Score (Alan Menken, Jack Feldman), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jeremy Jordan), Best Direction of a Musical (Jeff Calhoun), Best Choreography (Christopher Gattelli), Best Orchestrations (Danny Troob) and Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel).
The 2012 Tony Awards will air tonight on CBS live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City at 8 pm ET. Hosted once more by the consummate Neil Patrick Harris, the show will include a performance by the cast of ‘Newsies,’ which is now running open-ended at the Nederlander Theatre.
Thanks to @spotanime for the tip.
Disney’s limited Broadway run of its new musical ‘Newsies’ (based on the film) racked up an impressive eight Tony Award nominations including ‘Best Musical.’ The announcement was made earlier today by Kristin Chenoweth and Jim Parsons during the annual nominations ceremony.
For the coveted title of ‘Best Musical,’ ‘Newsies’ will be competing against ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It,’ ‘Once’ and ‘Leap of Faith,’ with the latter two also having been based on films. ‘Leap’ and ‘Newsies’ also share the music composition talents of Alan Menken.
Other categories for which ‘Newsies’ received a Tony nod are: Best Book of a Musical (Harvey Fierstein), Best Original Score (Alan Menken, Jack Feldman), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jeremy Jordan), Best Direction of a Musical (Jeff Calhoun), Best Choreography (Christopher Gattelli), Best Orchestrations (Danny Troob) and Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel).
Although not a Disney Theatrical production, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ was developed by the company and based on the popular series of Peter Pan prequels by authors Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, also published by Disney. The play bested ‘Newsies’ by just one nomination including ‘Best Play,’ where it competes with ‘Clybourne Park,’ ‘Other Desert Cities’ and ‘Venus in Fur.’ Other nominations for the play include: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) (Wayne Barker and Rick Elice), Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Christian Borle), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Celia Keenan-Bolger), Best Direction of a Play (Roger Rees and Alex Timbers), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Donyale Werle), Best Costume Design of a Play (Paloma Young), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jeff Croiter), Best Sound Design of a Play
(Darron L. West).
The Tony Awards will air live June 10 at 8 pm ET on the CBS Network.
Photo via ‘Newsies’ on Facebook
The widely anticipated original Broadway cast recording for Disney’s ‘Newsies’ will be released digitally via iTunes on April 10 (now available for pre-order) and pre-orders shipping on CD beginning April 30, 2012. The CD will become available in stores at mass retail on May 15, 2012.
The iTunes digital edition includes 18 tracks plus a digital booklet for $10.99 while the $20 CD edition available for pre-order here includes bonus tracks featuring an acoustic version of ‘Santa Fe,’ and extended versions of ‘King of New York’ and ‘Seize the Day.’
The Broadway production, which has recently extended its performances through August 19, is also offering ‘Carrying the Banner’ and ‘Seize the Day’ streamed in their entirety on its Facebook page.
Available for pre-order (items won’t ship until March 15) are an adult tee, an adult raglan ‘Seize the Day’ tee, a girls’ tee (pictured here), a ‘Newsie’ cap, photo frame, mug, travel mug, tote bag and magnet.
Making the merchandise available at show launch — let alone weeks prior to the debut — will be a first for Disney Theatrical as traditionally, the availability of Broadway merchandise had been limited in its availability. Aside from the theatre itself, merchandise had not really been available outside except in limited quantities at few outlets, such as the World of Disney Store in New York (now closed, but merchandise now sold at Disney Store Times Square). Now merchandise for ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ has made its way online at DisneyStore.com and, more recently, Disney Theatrical has opened a stand at FAO Schwarz in New York.
Additional merchandise should be available at the show, including the traditional program guide and an original cast recording of the show, which will feature three brand-new songs added since its off-Broadway introduction at Paper Mill Playhouse.