The Little Mermaid began Broadway previews on November 3, 2007 but didn't open until January 10, 2008 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (due to the Local One stagehands strike). The show featured all songs from the animated movie plus nine new songs written by Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The Little Mermaid had a successful pre-Broadway tryout at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Ellie Caulkins Opera House from July 26, 2007 through September 9, 2007. The opening night Broadway cast included Sierra Boggess making her Broadway debut (as Ariel), Sherie Rene Scott (as Ursula), Norm Lewis (as King Triton), and Sean Palmer (as Prince Eric). The show was nominated for two Tony Awards (Best Original Score and Best Lighting Design of a Musical) as well as 3 Drama Desk Awards.
After 50 previews and 685 regular performances,
Atlantis Productions Inc.'s Asian premiere of Disney’s The Little Mermaid took
place in Manila at Meralco Theater in November 2011.
Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Ltd also known as Walt Disney Theatrical, is the stageplay and musical production
arm of The Walt Disney Company. Formed in 1994, it is referred to as Disney on Broadway in New York City, and Disney on
Stage in London and Melbourne. Among the world's most successful commercial theatre enterprises, Disney Theatrical
Productions reaches a global annual audience of more than 10 million people in over 40 countries. Disney Theatrical also
delivers live entertainment around the world through its partnership with Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and
Disney LIVE!, including High School Musical: The Ice Tour and Playhouse Disney Live!
Beauty and the Beast began previews in New York City on March 9, 1994 and officially opened at the
Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994. The musical, the first Broadway adaptation by Disney, was based
on the 1991 animated movie (and a book by Linda Woolverton) and featured music and lyrics by Alan
Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. The idea for this stage version first came about when Disney
CEO Michael Eisner saw Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle) and Jerry Orbach (the voice of Lumiere)
perform musical highlights from the animated Beauty and the Beast as part of an awards presentation
in New York City. Staging a theatrical version of a film was no easy task, but director Robert Jess
Roth, choreographer Matt West, and scenic designer Stan Meyer figured out how to translate Beauty
and the Beast for Broadway. The original 1994 Broadway Cast included Susan Egan as Belle,
Terrence Mann as the Beast, Tom Bosley (of TV's Happy Days) as Belle's father Maurice, and Beth
Fowler as Mrs. Potts. In 1999, Disney decided to move the show to the Lunt-Fontanne theater in order
to make room for its new production of Aida at the Palace. Beauty ran on Broadway for 5,464 regular
performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's sixth-longest running production.
Notable Broadway Belles included Ashley Brown, Kerry Butler, Deborah Gibson, Toni Braxton, Andrea
McArdle, Janie Lynn-Sigler, Christy Carlson Romano, Brooke Tansley, Sarah Litzsinger, and
Anneliese van der Pol. A total of seventeen actresses played the part of Belle during its Broadway run!
A Los Angeles production opened at the Shubert Theatre on April 12, 1995 (and closed on September
29, 1996). Most of the Original Broadway Cast including Susan Egan, Terrence Mann, Gary Beach,
Beth Fowler, Burke Moses & Tom Bosley reprised their roles for the Los Angeles version.
Since 1995, productions of Beauty have performed in such countries as Australia, Austria, Canada,
Japan, Germany, Argentina, Spain, and Russia!
The Lion King debuted in Minneapolis in July 1997, before becoming a runaway hit and moving to
Disney's restored New Amsterdam Theater in New York City the following October for previews.
The show (based on the 1994 Disney animated film) officially opened November 13, 1997. The
opening night cast included Heather Headley (as Nala), Max Casella (as Timon), Samuel E.
Wright (as Mufasa), and Jason Raize (as Simba). Winner of 6 Tony Awards in 1997 including
Best Musical, The Lion King moved to the Minskoff Theatre on June 13, 2006 to make room for
Mary Poppins. The majority of the show's music is written by Elton John and Tim Rice, with
additional music by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer. A
spectacular use of puppetry, masks, and dramatic effects, The Lion King continues to be one of
the most popular shows on Broadway - as of March 15, 2009 it has played 4,701 times! After the
initial success of the Broadway production, the show also debuted in London's Lyceum Theatre in
1999, followed by versions in Toronto, Canada; Sydney, Australia; Korea and China. In May 2009
The Lion King began performances in Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Theatre. In April 2012, The Lion
King swiped the title of Broadway’s all-time highest grossing show from The Phantom of the
Opera! A remarkable achievement considering The Lion King chased down and grabbed the title
despite Phantom having almost a full 10 years' head start.
Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, a show unfamiliar to American audiences, was a musical with songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (literally translated in English, The Bellringer of Notre Dame) opened at the Musical Theatre Berlin in Germany on June 5, 1999. Based on the 1996 Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was inspired by the 1831 Victor Hugo novel of the same name, it was re-written and directed by James Lapine. The original cast included American Drew Sarich as Quasimodo, Judy Weiss as Esmeralda, and Fredrik Lycke as Pheobus. Closed since June 2002, it was Disney's first musical to premiere outside the U.S., and it became one of Berlin's longest-running musicals of all time.
Tarzan, based on the movie of the same name and the story "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, officially debuted on Broadway on May 10, 2006 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The only Disney Theatrical production without an out-of-town tryout, it featured the music of Phil Collins. The opening night cast included Josh Strickland (as Tarzan), Jenn Gambatese (as Jane), and Timothy Jerome (as Professor Porter). Tarzan was nominated for a Tony Award in 2006 for Best Lighting Design of a Musical. On April 15, 2007 a second Tarzan opend in Holland at the Circustheatre near Amsterdam. Unfortunately due to poor reviews and ticket sales, Broadway's Tarzan closed on July 8, 2007 after 35 previews and just 486 performances.
Mary Poppins opened on Broadway on November 16, 2006, following a month of previews in the New
Amsterdam Theater. Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of Mary Poppins had its world premiere
at London's Bristol Hippodrome back in September 2004. Based on the similarly-titled series of
children's books and the hit Disney 1964 film, the musical features the film's music and lyrics by the
Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers, along with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles
and Anthony Drewe. The opening night Broadway cast included Ashley Brown (as Mary Poppins),
Gavin Lee (as Bert), Daniel H. Jenkins (as George Banks), and Rebecca Luker (as Winifred Banks).
In 2007, Mary Poppins won a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical. After 2,619
performances, Mary Poppins flew out of the New Amsterdam in March 2013.
Aida, Disney's third venture on Broadway, was a musical drama in two acts based on
Giuseppe Verdi's Italian-language opera by the same name. It debuted on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in New York City on March 23, 2000. The musical was produced by Hyperion Theatricals, a unit within Disney Theatrical, and featured new music by Elton John (his first attempt writing
directly for the musical theatre stage) and Tim Rice (veteran English lyricist and John's Lion
King collaborator). Originally titled Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, it had first world premiered
at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia back in 1998. The Broadway production ran until
September 5, 2004 for a total of 1,852 performances (and 30 previews). Over the years,
several leading ladies played the role of Aida - Toni Braxton, Deborah Cox, Maya Days,
Heather Headley, Saycon Senqbloh, Simone, and Michelle T. Williams. Aida received 5 Tony
nominations, winning for Best Original Musical Score (Elton John & Tim Rice), Best Actress in a
Musical (Heather Headley), Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting Design. The show also won the
2001 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album and the 2000 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding
Actress in a Musical.
On The Record, a jukebox musical revue featuring many classic songs from a variety of
live action and animated films and television series, was first performed in Cleveland in
November 2004. Following the successful stage productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aida, Walt Disney Theatrical wanted to showcase Disney's wide catalogue
of songs without the use of a movie screen to present them. An idea called When You Wish, a new
musical revue was born. Though intended to play on Broadway, it failed to make it past the workshop
stage. But a new show meant specifically for the road called On the Record was conceived. The show
told the story of a recording session that changed the lives of a young unknown who is about to get her
big break, a pop diva who is about to meet her match, and a matinee idol who is about to meet the "new
kid" who could take his place. Heading up the original production was Emily Skinner playing "Diane", the
celebrated recording star and diva, Ashley Brown as "Kristen", the fresh-faced and talented newcomer to
the recording studio, Brian Sutherland as "Julian", the forty-ish matinee idol, and Andrew Samonsky as
"Nick", the up and coming performer. During its nine-month run, On the Record visited 24 U.S. cities.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage was a Broadway style musical that first opened in November 1991 at
Disney-MGM Studios in Florida - 3 years before the actual Broadway version!
THIS SITE MADE IN THE USA
Newsies: The Musical (originally a 1992 Disney musical drama film starring Christian Bale, David
Moscow, and Bill Pullman) debuted at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in September
2011. Based on the actual "Newsboys Strike of 1899," the musical later moved to Broadway at the
Nederlander Theatre for a "limited engagement," starting in March 2012. The Broadway cast includes
Jeremy Jordan (as Jack Kelly, the charismatic leader of the Newsies), John Dossett (as publisher Joseph
Pulitzer), Kata Lindsay (as Katherine Plumber), Capathia Jenkins (as Medda Larkin) and Ben
Fankhauser (as Davey). With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, Newsies: The Musical
is now scheduled to run indefinitely.
This Day in Disney History - THE FIRST - THE ORIGINAL
Traveling in time since 1999!