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5 Disney Films that Deserve A Broadway Musical

Just read the news that a Broadway version Newsies is in pre-production at Disney Theatrical. On one hand the mind boggles. The movie was a flop, few of the songs memorable, and it was made almost 20 years ago. On the other hand this is the biggest ‘no duh’ move that Disney Theatrical has ever made. Newsies has a small but obsessive fan following, it helped launch Christian Bale’s career (although I’ve heard he regrets his participation), and Kenny Ortega was the director and choreographer. Thankfully, they’re planning to make some changes, add some songs, and re-write the book before it hits the stage and they’ve got serious talent, like Alan Menken etc… lined up to produce the new show.

This has me thinking. What other Disney movies are just waiting for their Broadway Treatment?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I know, Disney Theatrical already produced a stage musical of Hunchback. But it showed mainly in Europe (in German). The production was a bit avantgarde for American audiences. I’d like to see a new production that lays somewhere between the Disneyfied version of the story and the darker original novel.

Jungle Book
If Disney can attempt to bring Tarzan to the stage, then Jungle Book deserves its chance too. I see this as a cross between the acrobatics of Cirque Du Soliel and Hair. Keep the movies humor for the kids and layer in some political winks and nudges for the adult and you’ve got a hit.

Return to Oz

I believe the Oz series is ready for a stage sequel. This dark semi-classic has a lot going for it in terms of story. All it needs now are some songs.

Sleeping Beauty

There is no better Disney villain than Maleficent and the score is literally a classic. Beauty doesn’t have quite the ‘girl power’ message that more modern stories do. But it is definitely one of Disney’s classic movie musicals that never made it to the stage. Think of a giant dragon puppet. I think Julie Taymor could make it work, but I’d be nervous to let her try.

A combination of the two Goofy Movies. The story of a father and a son who are trying to find their way to become a family is perfect for the stage. The movies are under appreciated in my book and many of the songs, particularly from the first movie, are very memorable. Plus, this is a perfect vehicle to get Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick back on stage together. (I’m only partially kidding.)

Any Disney films that you would like to see on Broadway?

16 thoughts on “5 Disney Films that Deserve A Broadway Musical”

  1. I would really like to see Song of the South as a reinvented musical where it’s themes and story line have been adapted to a socially and politically correct approach in efforts of telling the story of Brer Rabbit, which has a great lesson for everyone.

    I also think the Mighty Ducks franchise might make a great musical. Think Legally Blonde meets Grease meets Disney.

    Lastly, I think Toy Story franchise could make an exceptional musical. Logistically, it would be neat to see costumes designed similarly to those of Lion King where the notions of each toy character are there but the actor’s face is the face of the toy. Hamm could be similar to the Pumba costume and Woody and Buzz similar to the Simba costume where the likeness is there but it is the actor’s face that is showcased.

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  3. I’d like Aladdin! A Musical Spectacular from DCA to hit broadway, its an amazing show, I’d like Beauty and the Beast back, and Little Mermaid Back. I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar to On The Record since it incorporates many Disney songs. I’d also like for the Hyperion at DCA to act as a final performance venue for Disney theatrical productions when their broadway tour ends. have it perform at DCA because its such a beautiful theater (especially for one in a theme park)

  4. I really enjoyed seeing Newsies, although I’m behind everyone else – only saw it earlier this year (and mostly to see Batman singing and dancing). And honestly, while watching it I really thought that the movie was an adaptation of a musical – the choreography and cinematography looked like it was taken straight off a stage. Sure, the songs weren’t perfect, but if they just directly lifted the screenplay and put it on stage, it would probably work pretty well.

  5. The one Disney movie that I have always thought would lend itself well to the stage is Pete’s Dragon. The songs and Characters are already there, and I think we are now at a time that our technology is good enough that they should be able to figure out how to create Elliot…if he in fact really needs to be seen at all. :D

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  7. Wow, I thought I was the only one who saw Return to Oz. I remember the preview showing at the studio, before it opened. When it ended there was dead silence in the dailies theater. They made the same mistake that the Addams Family Musical initially made, of not using the same character designs and musical styles of the prior version. That said, the story was strong, if very dark. It would probably be better received by modern audiences, as long as the characters were redesigned to match the originals (a licensing issue, I’m sure) and some good songs were added.

  8. Wow!!! I’ve been hearing the rumors for a couple years now about the Newsies musical…I’m so thrilled! Newsies and Return to Oz are my 2 favorite Disney live-action films, and while I’m thrilled about the Newsies musical news…as much as I adore Return to Oz, I’ve never thought of it as a musical, but yay for it being mentioned, at least! :)

  9. Newsies is in the works, and Jungle Book is actually licensable through MTI (Musical Theatre International), but only as a children’s theatre version.

    It’s funny Return to Oz is mentioned on here. The first stage play I ever directed was in fact, Return to Oz. However, it was at a church a number of years ago, and it was completely not-for-profit. Definitely something I have not forgotten about, and anticipate reviving it sometime in the near future, with plenty of new ideas to bring to it that I wish that I had really gotten across the first time around.

    I can tell you that the problem with Return to Oz as a play is its audience, and staging. It can be staged very dark and abstract, or a mixture (which I tried. Didn’t work in my favor), and quite honestly, I don’t think it is the best family show in the world. As well as the staging – Mombi and her heads is a stumper. There are many ways to do it, but none of which I can seem to figure out the effects for.

    Another problem I had was that I also did it with an all-youth cast, which was a mistake on my part. At the time, I was fourteen, and only could work with actors effectively who were closer to my age; and my one regret (out of many) was that Dorothy was too old. She was brilliant, but too old nonetheless. I would say it’s almost essential to have Dorothy be close to Fairuza Balk’s age in the movie (so, nine-eleven?). It makes the story so much stronger.

    I have thought about Return as a musical – but I think it would just be too bizarre. Perhaps as an opera? It’s so hard for me to imagine because the soundtrack is so beautiful and emotional. If anyone should musicalize it, it should be the film’s score composer/genius, David Shire. I still say the story doesn’t need singing for it to speak for itself- but hey, I’m just a guy with a lot of ideas. :)

  10. How about Toy Story the Musical????

    the Frog Prince musical

    Tangled the Musical (Rapunzel)

    Fantasmic the musical???

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