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messaggio 23/9/2008, 22:24
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Dal sito Dispatch:

Disney tapping new sources for family musicals

Sunday, September 21, 2008 3:28 AM
By Michael Grossberg

Disney has built its Broadway brand with family shows inspired by some of its best-known animated films.

Yet the mostly charmed circle of stage life -- which started with Beauty and the Beast in 1994 and The Lion King in 1997 -- is about to expand.

Beyond the animated titles, the company is seeking more-varied sources for a new cycle of family-oriented musicals, according to Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions.

Schumacher discussed the past and future of Disney while visiting Columbus to help oversee a backstage revamping of The Lion King.

The second tour in central Ohio continues through next Sunday in the Ohio Theatre.

"The sweet spot of the business is Disney musicals for the broadest-possible family audiences," Schumacher said.

Hitting that spot, he said, remains the goal.

As the culture shifts, however, Disney is changing to come up with material that connects with new generations and a new era.

Among the new musicals in development:

• Peter and the Starcatchers -- Author Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) and director Roger Rees are adapting the Peter Pan prequel, billed as a play with music, from a 2004 novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson about the young orphan battling pirates in a high-seas adventure. The first workshop production will run Feb. 13 to March 8 at La Jolla Playhouse in California.

• The Man in the Ceiling -- Author-cartoonist Jules Feiffer (Little Murders) and composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) are adapting Feiffer's 1995 book about a boy cartoonist who dreams of becoming a successful artist. The show recently had its first reading.

• The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- Disney's first original foreign-language production, which ran from 1999 to 2002 in Berlin, is being revamped for its U.S. premiere. The 1996 animated film inspired by Victor Hugo's novel was rewritten for the stage and directed by James Lapine (Into the Woods). Songs by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) were added as well.

Following in the footsteps of Disney's first "original" musical, Elton John's pop adaptation of Verdi's Aida, Schumacher is seeking more books and live-action films as sources for new shows because not every animated film can or should be adapted for the stage, he said.

"Animated movies are a form of haiku. You create a series of visual images and thematic concepts and move through it very quickly in 74 minutes," he said.

Moreover, most fairy tales are too similar -- and skimpy -- in plot and character to justify a worthwhile two-act production, he said.

Even with director-designer Julie Taymor's imaginative puppetry and stagecraft for The Lion King, the 88-minute film was expanded into a live show running close to three hours only with a deepening of the characters and their stories, Schumacher said. He shepherded the animated film during his former tenure as president of Disney's animated-film division and later guided its Broadway incarnation.

"Who is Nala and why did she leave Pride Rock? In the movie, she just leaves," Schumacher said.

"The stage version shows that she left because of the drought, . . . and because Scar is making advances on her. Nala sings Shadowlands to explain that she can't stay anymore."

Using the next Disney musical slated to tour as an example, Schumacher said Mary Poppins works well onstage because its story -- a blend of the original novel and the 1964 film -- expands the dynamics of a family that was broken.

Other than The Lion King -- the 1998 Tony winner for best musical -- most Disney musicals have met with a mixed to negative critical response in New York.

From Ben Brantley's January review of The Little Mermaid in The New York Times: "Loved the shoes. Loathed the show. OK, I exaggerate. I didn't like the shoes all that much. But the wheel-heeled footwear known as merblades, which allow stage-bound dancers to simulate gliding underwater, provides the only remotely graceful elements in the musical blunderbuss."

Meanwhile, reflecting the Broadway community's still-wary response to Disney's "invasion" of its turf, the Tony awards have often overlooked Disney musicals or relegated them to lesser design nominations.

Even so, The Little Mermaid and other Disney shows have found an audience.

"The Disney name is a hefty thing," Schumacher said. "We also have a global theater business. We have 17 productions running right now, and only three are on Broadway."

Disney stage musicals and how they have fared in New York or on tour:

• Beauty and the Beast -- 5,461 performances, 1994-2007

• The Lion King -- 4,501 performances to date, opened Nov. 13, 1997

• Aida -- 1,852 performances, 2000-04; toured Columbus in 2003

• Tarzan -- 486 performances, 2006-07

• High School Musical -- limited to a 2006-07 U.S. tour with no Broadway run (the stage version of the TV musical played 42 cities, including Columbus)

• Mary Poppins -- 773 performances to date, opened November 2006; national tour to begin in 2009 in Chicago

• The Little Mermaid -- 293 performances to date, opened Jan. 10

Sources: Disney Theatrical Productions, Broadway reports

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messaggio 30/3/2011, 12:54
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messaggio 4/4/2011, 17:53
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Variety riporta l'elenco completo.

'Alice,' 'Freaky' head to stage
Disney Theatrical developing multiple projects
By Gordon Cox
To judge by its Broadway output, Disney Theatrical Prods. has gone quiet since "The Little Mermaid," which opened in early 2008.

But a sudden spate of productions of licensed titles, including the recent Off Broadway bow of "Peter Pan" prequel "Peter and the Starcatcher," is one clue the org's development slate has actually gotten busier -- with projects in the works that include tuner adaptations of "Freaky Friday," "The Jungle Book" and Tim Burton's 3D "Alice in Wonderland."

It's a recent ramp-up prodded by the company's awareness of expanding potential in international markets, boosted by the kind of global brand recognition that, for instance, makes "Jungle Book" a much requested stage title in Germany. Many of the developing projects, then, are bound not for Broadway but toward licensed productions in regional markets and around the world.

Disney execs say they're open to Rialto possibilities for those titles developed for licensing, but they're not counting on it.

"The hope, obviously, is that one or more of these is hugely successful," says Disney Theatrical producer and prexy Thomas Schumacher. "But they have other ways to feed through the enterprise, too."

Including licensed productions created and produced by third parties -- such as "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," thanks to Disney's acquisition of Marvel in 2009 -- as well as reduxes of pre-existing shows, the portfolio is broader than Rialto-focused observers might initially suspect.

According to Schumacher and Steve Fickinger, veep for creative development and theatrical licensing, it's the busiest slate the company's legit arm has had.

Shows in development to be produced by Disney Theatrical in stagings targeted to Broadway include:

nThe musical adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland," which teams Tim Burton, who will oversee the production, with multiple alums of the stage version of "Beauty and Beast." Burton and "Beauty" set designer Stan Meyer will collaborate on production design, while "Beauty" helmer Robert Jess Roth directs and another "Beauty" collaborator, Matt West, choreographs. Linda Woolverton ("Beauty," "The Lion King"), who penned the film's screenplay, is onboard to write the book. Richard D. Zanuck, a producer of the film, joins as co-exec producer, and Disney is in conversations with Basil Twist to create the puppets.

n "Dumbo," which will see Michael Chabon penning the book for the "Billy Elliot" duo of director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling. Bob Crowley ("Aida," "Mary Poppins") designs.

n"Father of the Bride," not necessarily a title that instantly screams the Disney brand, but linked through the Touchstone film that starred Steve Martin. Bartlett Sher ("South Pacific") directs.

All three projects are still in the works, with some collaborators -- including songwriters for all three -- still to be nailed down.

Alongside those larger-scale projects are properties Disney develops in versions to be licensed to regional and international markets hungry for stage adaptations of familiar titles. Among these, in varying phases of the development trajectory:

n "Freaky Friday," an adaptation of the well-known body-switch comedy with songs by young composer Ryan Scott Oliver and book by Bridget Carpenter ("Friday Night Lights"). Christopher Ashley helms in a staging headed for a developmental production at La Jolla Playhouse next spring.

n Early-stages project "Jungle Book," a tuner version (with songs from the movie) to be written and directed by Mary Zimmerman ("Metamorphoses").

nNew versions of shows that already played on Broadway, including "The Little Mermaid," to be produced in three separate regional productions this summer. Meanwhile, for a Stage Entertainment incarnation readying to tour Europe, book writer Doug Wright is taking another pass at the script, while designer Crowley and helmer Glenn Casale step into roles filled on Broadway by George Tsypin and Francesca Zambello, respectively. Also on the slate is a potential new incarnation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," to be helmed by Scott Schwartz ("Golda's Balcony").

Shows such as "Freaky Friday" and "Jungle Book" join previously announced titles, like the New York Theater Workshop-produced "Peter," which are developed but not produced by Disney. Still, Disney Theatrical remains closely tied to "Peter": The company has supervised its development at every step, and will be involved in any future life that emerges for the production.

There's also a two-act stage version of 1992 animated pic "Aladdin" -- oft-requested by stock, amateur and regional companies -- bowing this summer at the 5th Avenue in Seattle.

The stage version incorporates movie tunes by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, as well as some written for the pic but never used. New book by Chad Beguelin will incorporate previously unseen material created for the film. Casey Nicholaw ("The Book of Mormon") directs.

Plus, there's "Newsies," pairing original songwriters Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman with book writer Harvey Fierstein. The first production of that one, directed by Jeff Calhoun, opens at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in September.

Disney sometimes invests in other shows on the Main Stem, most recently chipping in on the new revival of "Arcadia." And there are also the independent productions of titles linked to Disney via Touchstone, Miramax or Marvel, including "Spider-Man," "Sister Act," "Calendar Girls" and "Kinky Boots."

For the majority of Disney's developing projects, skeds are uncertain and, particularly in the case of the larger productions, likely to require time to come together. But the packed slate indicates that "Peter," "Newsies" and "Aladdin" may be only the first in a wave of Disney-linked shows that may not let up any time soon.

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- veu   Nuovi musical Disney   23/9/2008, 22:24
- - Scissorhands   Uaooooooooooooooooo Grandi veu!!! Mera...   23/9/2008, 23:57
- - veu   Dal sito StitchKingdom: Is Disney’s Peter Pan Pre...   19/4/2010, 21:08
- - Arancina22   Tutto ciň sembra molto interessante, soprattutto i...   20/4/2010, 17:30
- - shaoran-kun   Sono stati annunciati ufficialmente i nuovi proget...   28/3/2011, 17:15
|- - warhol_84   QUOTE (shaoran-kun @ 28/3/2011, 16:1...   29/3/2011, 20:46
- - Arancina22   CITAZIONE Nuove versioni di THE LITTLE MERMAID (co...   28/3/2011, 17:17
|- - Scissorhands   Uoooo incredibile! Addirittura riportano la si...   28/3/2011, 20:32
- - Daydreamer   Grazie Shaoran!! S' credo che La Siren...   28/3/2011, 21:18
- - Fulvio84   Non c'e' un solo progetto che non e' i...   28/3/2011, 22:11
- - Arancina22   Grazie Day! Tra l'altro spero mantengano i...   28/3/2011, 22:11
- - shaoran-kun   CITAZIONE (Arancina22 @ 28/3/2011, 17:17)...   29/3/2011, 0:33
- - giagia   Me so' perso, e Aladdin e Newsies? Per TLM f...   29/3/2011, 9:22
|- - Lif   CITAZIONE (giagia @ 29/3/2011, 9:22) vogl...   29/3/2011, 21:18
- - shaoran-kun   CITAZIONE (giagia @ 29/3/2011, 9:22) Me s...   29/3/2011, 22:37
- - giagia   Allora devo risparmiare per un altro viaggetto nel...   29/3/2011, 22:43
- - Daydreamer   Evvai!!!!!! London there...   30/3/2011, 0:48
- - giagia   In caso la proposta di organizzarsi resta sempre a...   30/3/2011, 3:34
- - Daydreamer   CERTO!   30/3/2011, 12:54
|- - Scissorhands   Variety riporta l'elenco completo. http://www....   4/4/2011, 17:53
|- - shaoran-kun   CITAZIONE (Scissorhands @ 4/4/2011, 17:53...   5/4/2011, 1:05
|- - Scissorhands   The Jungle book č pronto, ho aperto un topic appos...   2/7/2013, 12:49
- - oswald   L'alice di burton? vabč Dumbo mi incuriosisce...   4/4/2011, 23:52
- - Fulvio84   non trovo un altro topic adatto e non ne vorrei ap...   1/8/2011, 11:42
|- - warhol_84   PEnsa che per quanto mi riguarda La Bella e La Bes...   2/8/2011, 1:18
|- - oswald   Personalmente vorrei provare l'esperienza di B...   3/8/2011, 23:14
- - Beast   Per ora si tratta solo di speculazioni, ma c'č...   28/7/2012, 9:59
- - Scissorhands   uao sembra davvero interessante!   30/7/2012, 2:05

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