Definitions

theatrical productions

Walt Disney Theatrical

Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, informally known as Walt Disney Theatrical, is the stageplay and musical production arm of The Walt Disney Company. It advertises as Disney on Broadway in New York City, and Disney on Stage in London and Melbourne.

The company has gained a prestigious reputation within the industry for creating professional and popular (both critically and financially) performances, starting with the acclaimed Beauty and the Beast in 1994 and most recently with The Little Mermaid in 2008. The company is led by Thomas Schumacher, and forms a part of one of the four units of The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Studio Entertainment.

Animation adaptations

Beauty and the Beast

The show began previews in New York City in March 1994 and officially opened at the Palace Theatre in April. The musical was the first Broadway adaptation by Disney, based on the movie by Linda Woolverton and with music and lyrics by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Several new songs were written for the Broadway musical, including Home, a ballad sung by Belle which quickly became the signature song of the musical. It had a continuous run and the final performance took place on July 29, 2007 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre to make room for another Disney production, The Little Mermaid. The show was Broadway's sixth-longest running production.

It has been performed in London, Toronto, Kyoto, Seoul, Stuttgart, Sydney, Mexico City, Guayaquil and has also toured around the USA. In the Netherlands this production was co-produced by Joop van den Ende's Stage Entertainment. The production had new sets and costumes. Also, the role of the narrator was taken by a woman, Martine Bijl. She translated the musical in Dutch. Thomas Schumacher, head of Walt Disney Theatrical, was enthusiastic about this version of the show.

The Lion King

The show debuted in Minneapolis in July 1997, before becoming a runaway hit and moving to Disney's restored New Amsterdam Theater in New York City that October where it was performed until June 13, 2006. The show then moved to the Minskoff Theatre to make room for Mary Poppins. The show uses a range of theatrical techniques, and is not a conventional musical, yet is probably the most popular production Disney Theatrical have ever conceived and one of the most loved productions in the world. It has consistently been one of the highest grossing musicals on Broadway every week, always performing to nearly-sold out audiences. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical at the 1997 Tony Awards.

Its popularity has spawned several additional open-ended performances around the world, including in London, Toronto, Hamburg and Scheveningen in Europe, Melbourne, Tokyo, Nagoya and Seoul.

Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame

The show was based on the animated flim The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It premiered in Berlin, Germany in 1999. This was adapted into a darker, more gothic musical production, re-written and directed by James Lapine and produced by the Walt Disney Theatrical branch, in Berlin, Germany. Considered to be a great boost for tourists in Germany, the musical Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (translated in English as The Bellringer of Notre Dame) was very successful and played from 1999 to 2002, before closing. A cast recording was also recorded in German.

Tarzan

The show was based on the movie of the same name and the story " Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroghs, and debuted on Broadway on May 10, 2006 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show was heavily publicized with Phil Collins and the lead actors promoting the new musical on several media shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, and Live with Regis and Kelly. After playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre for over a year the show closed on July 8, 2007.

On April 15, 2007 the musical debuted in Europe in The Netherlands as the successor of The Lion King in Scheveningen. A Broadway musical had never previously arrived in the Netherlands so soon after its Broadway premiere. Phil Collins was a special guest at the 2006 Johnny Kraaijkamp Musical Awards. There he announced the news that Tarzan was coming to the Netherlands. For this production, the creative team made a lot of changes. They were able to do that because the Circustheater has more possibilities.

In 2008 a new production will open in Germany. A casting show on TV called "Ich Tarzan, Du Jane" ("I'm Tarzan, you're Jane") will be searching for actors for the roles of Tarzan and Jane. A revamped United States tour version has been announced to debut in January 2009 in Atlanta. The new production will feature the same music and book, but will be directed and choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, with scenic design by Kenneth Foy, aerial design by Paul Rubin and lighting design by Ken Billington.

The Little Mermaid

The musical began Broadway previews on November 3, 2007 and opened on January 10, 2008 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, even through trouble due to the Local One stagehands strike, which ended on November 28, 2007. The world premiere took place at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center of the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado. The show features all songs in the movie and will boast nine new songs written by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The book for the new musical is by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright, with direction by Francesca Zambello, choreography by Stephen Mear, scenic design by George Tsypin, costume design by Tatiana Noginova and lighting design by Natasha Katz. Despite receiving mixed reviews by critics, the show's pre-broadway run in Denver has become the most successful tryout for a Disney musical by selling nearly 95,000 seats. The musical on Broadway opened to mixed reviews but with the audience response generally positive.

The show features Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula, Eddie Korbich as Scuttle, Sean Palmer as Prince Eric, Brian D'Addario and Trevor Braun as Flounder, and Titus Burgess as Sebastian.

Live action adaptations

Mary Poppins

Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of Mary Poppins had its world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome starting with previews from September 15, 2004 before officially opening on September 18 for a limited engagement until November 6. The production then moved to the Prince Edward Theatre on December 15, 2004. It was announced in June 2007 that this production will close on January 12, 2008, after a run of more than three years. An international tour of Mary Poppins will commence in the UK in 2008.

It opened on Broadway on November 16, 2006, following a month of previews in the New Amsterdam Theater. A United States tour of the show will begin in 2009.

High School Musical

The stage version of the hit Disney Channel movie is currently a popular stage show done by over 2,500 local theatres. It had it's world professional premiere at the theatre of the stars in Atlanta, GA that is now a national tour that is currently being booked until spring 2008 which is now on a UK national tour beginning January 2008. Also a West-end production is slated to begin on June 30th.

High School Musical 2

The sequel to the popular movie High School Musical 2 is being spun off into a stage version as of January 2008. Like the original, the show is divided into two productions: A one-act, 70-minute show and a two act production. MTI is also handling rights to these shows as well.

Original productions

Aida

Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, it tells the story of a Nubian slave who falls in love with an Egyptian captain. It was written by Elton John and Tim Rice, and was met with wide critical acclaim. It debuted in 2000 on Broadway, before finishing in 2004 to start an international tour.

On the Record

Debuting in November 2004, the show brought together sixty classic Disney songs from 1930 right up to 2004. They are woven together loosely by a storyline which is set in a recording studio with young (and old) performers using the songs to express their moods and the interrelationships among the characters they portray. The show played at the National Theatre in Washington D.C., as well as other theatres on a national tour.

"Peter Pan"

Disney Theatrical Productions and La Jolla Playhouse (California) have announced plans to present a production of Peter and the Starcatchers, which is a prequel to the Peter Pan story. The new play is written by Rick Elice, directed by Roger Rees and co-directed by Alex Timbers, and is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It is to be produced as part of La Jolla Playhouse's Page to Stage program, scheduled to run from February 13, 2009 through March 8, 2009.

References

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