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Tag Archives: Disney Theatrical

April 16

April 16, 2008 – Disney Theatrical Productions Honors Alan Menken

On April 16, 2008, Disney Theatrical Productions hosted an evening at the Hudson Theatre honoring the music and legacy of composer Alan Menken. Hosted by Thomas Schumacher, the evening featured Broadway performers Josh Strickland, Ashley Brown, Sierra Boggess, and Sherie Rene Scott; Donny Osmond, who played Gaston for a stint in Beauty and the Beast, also stopped by to liven the evening. Menken, who made his Broadway debut with Little Shop of Horrors with lyricist Howard Ashman, is better known for his work with Disney animated features beginning with The Little Mermaid; several of the animated features have made it to the Broadway stage. The evening focused in his lesser-known work, with the performers paying homage to a Broadway great.

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October 11

October 11, 2008 – The Russian Version of the Musical Beauty and the Beast Opens

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“Record ticket sales and huge interest from the media demonstrate that the Russian theatre-going audience is really looking forward to seeing this brilliant and highly entertaining show.” – Producer Dmitry Bogachev

On October 11, 2008, the first Russian-language production of a Disney musical, Beauty and the Beast, opened in Moscow’s MDM Theatre. Disney Theatrical Group worked with Stage Entertainment to bring the show to Russia almost fifteen years since the show originally began on Broadway. Igor Ivanov, cast as the Prince, won his role through a reality program called Find Your Prince. Actresses Natalia Bystrova and Ekaterina Guseva shared the role of Belle.

August 30

August 30, 2009 – The Little Mermaid Has Final Performance on Broadway

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“We are closing the Broadway production to concentrate on the long future life of this title – beginning with next year’s national tour and upcoming international productions.” – Producer and President of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher

On August 30, 2009, the Broadway musical The Little Mermaid had its final performance in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, closing after 685 performances. The production, which began with previews on November 3, 2007, received positive reviews from family audiences, but a rather lukewarm response from critics. The musical was scheduled to begin its national tour in 2010, and was retooled by Glenn Casale after the show closed on Broadway. The final run featured Chelsea Morgan Stock as Ariel, Faith Prince as Ursula, Drew Seeley as Prince Eric, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Rogelio Douglas Jr. as Sebastian, Eddie Korbich as Scuttle, Jonathan Freeman as Grimsby, Tyler Maynard as Flotsam, Eric LaJuan Summers as Jetsam, Robert Creighton as Chef Louis, and Trevor Braun, Major Curda, and Brian D’Addario alternating in the role of Flounder.

July 7

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July 7, 2011 – The Stage Musical Aladdin Premieres at the 5th Street Theatre

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“New musicals have become a large part of the mission of The 5th Avenue Theatre and we are thrilled that Disney has selected our theatre to produce the premiere of this new work they have developed.” – Artistic Director and Executive Producer David Armstrong

On July 7, 2011, the stage musical version of the animated feature film Aladdin premiered at the 5th Street Theatre in Seattle, Washington. This version of the musical, which ran through July 31, 2011, was a pilot production to see if it proved itself worthy of a transfer to the Broadway stage. Also notable about this version is that it was a return to the original pitch from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that was deemed not suitable for the original hit film, but ended up working on the stage. The cast and creative team was a mix of Broadway veterans and members of the Seattle theatre scene, including Tony-nominated director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, a veteran of the 5th Avenue Theatre. The musical eventually proved popular enough and was well-received by critics that it began the process of being retooled for the Great White Way; Broadway previews were almost three years later, with an opening date of March 20.

March 9

March 9, 2011 – The Off-Broadway Production of Peter and the Starcatcher Opens

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“In relating the back story of how a sullen, skeptical orphan became the eternal boy known as Peter Pan, ‘Starcatcher’ celebrates the leap of faith that occurs when we tell and believe improbable tales.” – The New York Times

On March 9, 2011, the Disney Theatrical Off-Broadway Production Peter and the Starcatcher opened at the New York Theater Workshop. Based on the bestselling book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play gives the account of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and was transferred to Broadway and opened on April 15, 2012. It garnered five Tony Awards, including one for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Christian Borle, and was nominated for Best Play. It starred Adam Chanler-Berat as Peter, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Molly, and Christian Borle as Black Stache.

 

May 18

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May 18, 1997 – The New Amsterdam Theater Reopens on Broadway

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“Go behind the curtain of Broadway’s legendary New Amsterdam Theater”

On May 18, 1997, the historic New Amsterdam Theater reopened after it was leased and renovated by the Walt Disney Company. It was once the home of the Ziegfeld Follies, a popular review that featured some of the greatest artist of the time, including Fanny Brice, Ed Wynn, and W. C. Fields. The theater was closed in 1936, as Broadway was hit hard by the Great Depression, but was reopened in 1937 and converted as a movie theater. In 1982, the property was bought by the Nederlander Organization, but as they could not renovate and restore the building for eight years, the State of New York resumed ownership after a lengthy court battle. Disney began its bid for the property in 1993, signing a 99-year lease. After a lengthy restoration period, the theater was reopened with a world premiere concert of Alan Menken and Tim Rice’s King David that had a limited run of only nine performances. Soon after, the Broadway show The Lion King began performances there, before it was moved to the Minskoff Theater on June 13, 2006, and Mary Poppins took its place until its closing on March 3, 2013. Currently, the new Broadway show Aladdin runs in the theater. The New Amsterdam is considered to be the flagship theater for all Disney-related Broadway productions.