Whether you’re excited or appalled, Mrs. Doubtfire is coming to Broadway. While it’s not official- Alan Menken and Harvey Fierstein’s involvement legitimizes these claims. The two powerhouses could easily push this odd choice to New York. Menken, one of the most prolific composers of all time, has written iconic songs for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Pocahontas, and Little Shop of Horrors. Fierstein, who was in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, is a legendary Broadway veteran starring in Hairspray and having written Kinky Boots, Newsies, and La Cage aux Folles. Both being on the creative team means that there’s something there. We personally think it’s impossible to translate the movie to the stage without the incomperable Robin Williams. James Monroe Englehart succeeded in playing the Genie in the stage adaptation of Aladdin (which he earned a Tony Award for) but we highly doubt that same luck could happen again with an actor for Mrs. Doubtfire. We trust in Menken and Fierstein but think the heart warming story should remain a movie. Broadway shouldn’t try and touch such a beautiful piece of film history. But who knows. That sure hasn’t stopped them before.
Set you’re DVR’s or get ready to illegally stream it online because ABC is airing a special on Disney Theatrics!!! The one hour show, which is premiering December 14th, will take you behind the scenes of both current and past Broadway shows of Disney (but we think they’ll be quietly forgetting to mention Tarzan). The show will be hosted by Modern Family‘s Jessie Tyler Ferguson and will include performances by Elton John, Ashley Brown, and Adam Jacobs. Apparently we’ll get to see rehearsal footage of The Lion King backstage footage of Aladdin and a sneak peak of the National Tour of Newsies. This to us seems like a great idea…if it wasn’t done by ABC. Disney, which owns literally everything, also owns ABC, meaning this could very well turn into one long advertisement to see their shows. It’s not going to be a documentary so much as propaganda. If you ever watched their special on Aladdin, it seems like they were just trying to sell it to you. But biased or not, I’m watching it. How can you not? It’s a one hour special about Broadway (need I say more!?).
Disney wasn’t so sure about their latest venture to recreate The Lion King’s monstrous success, but it seems they no longer have to worry. The show (with only one Tony to it’s name and no critics approval), is a major success for the Mouse House. Thomas Shumacher, whose the head of Disney’s theatrical division, is clearly pretty pleased with the show’s box office (he desperately needed a win after Tarzan and The Little Mermaid). Aladdin has become one of the top selling shows on Broadway, making more money than other show of the 2013-2014 season. Closely behind The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, and Wicked the show is surpassing every odd. Last month we learned the show would mount several productions across the world (including Germany and Japan) but it seems their also heading to the West End. The musical is in negotiations to open at the iconic London Palladium in 2016. Most notably, the theater has housed Britain’s Got Talent, The Sound of Music, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz. Next year, it’s slated to house the latest revival of Cats (starring Nicole Scherzinger). On Broadway, Aladdin is packing houses at the New Amsterdam Theatre (which Disney owns). We can’t say that were not surprised with Disney’s latest success. I certainly did not see this coming. To be honest, Shumacher probably didn’t either. This is the rare sort of show that remains a pleasant little surprise.
Aladdin, which didn’t fare too well on Broadway, will not launch a National Tour in America but will instead try to recoup it’s money in Japan. With an ambiguous setting, the Disney musical could easily sell the show to the Middle East. But since ISIS doesn’t seem to be musical theater fans, they’ll be trying their luck with Asia (close enough right!?). This spot seems logical enough, but we’re still trying to find out why they didn’t try India (our guess to where the show takes place). China is the biggest market for musicals in the area, but Japan could be a close second. Broadway hits like Wicked did well, and it’s likely Aladdin could do the same. Disney says the cast will be from the country (the show will be in Japanese), and it appears that there’s enough Asian elements to the show to appeal to them. In New York, the production has done well enough. It’s box office is closer to Disney’s Mary Poppins than Tarzan, which is what Disney execs were hoping for. But it’s certainly not the success Thomas Schumacker (the President of Disney Theatrics) needed to prove he had more than The Lion King up his sleeve. There’s talks that The Hunchback of Notre Dame could boot Aladdin out of the New Amsterdam Theatre, and now it seems more and more likely. Aladdin will be quietly making money overseas while fading quickly on Broadway. Expect a closing date around January. For what it’s worth, we wish the show luck as it tries to make a mark one last time.
Green Goblin turned conservative Catholic!? Patrick Page is set to star as Judge Claude Frollo in the underrated Disney musical- The Hunchback of Notre Dame, opening at the La Jolla Playhouse October 26th.
While it’ll stop by the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey (which has always been the last step to Broadway), Disney execs haven’t made any clear indication the show’s headed for NYC. Disney’s track record with musicals has always a hit or miss with The Lion King’s unprecedented success compared with disasters like Tarzan. This year’s Aladdin wasn’t the hit they needed it to be (with “meh” reviews and a single Tony to it’s name), making Disney more and more careful with what their putting on their stages. Frozen, an avalanche of money for Disney, will be hitting Broadway without hesitation but Hunchback will have to jump through any and all hoops before it lands in the Big Apple.
Patrick Page and a number of other Broadway alumni, however, could change the tides. Page, whose played villains for Disney left and right, is a perfect choice for Frollo (having famously played Spider-Man’s Green Goblin). Pippin star Ciara Renée (who’s struggled to fill Patina Miller’s shoes), is an interesting choice to play Esmeralda but Michael Arden seems like a fresh new choice for the Hunchback as it seems Disney will be trying to make the character more Beaty and the Beast rather than deformed but adorable.
The cast seems like they could carry the weight on their shoulders, but do you think they can carry it to Broadway?
We’ve never had a friend like him and we’ll never have a friend like him again. In honor of Robin Williams tragic death, the cast of Aladdin honored the comedian and actor through a touching reprise of the show’s signature song. Williams, who played the Genie in the 1993 movie of Aladdin, was saluted by James Monroe Iglehart (who has taken on the role on Broadway) in a very heartwarming rendition of “Never Had a Friend Like Me” sung by the cast, crew, and even the audience. It looks like we have yet another reason to love the show.
With the Tony Awards airing tonight (who could forget!!!) we’d thought we’d compile a full list of all the musicals of the season coming out with a cast recording so you can obsess over the shows even MORE. Below’s all the productions that either have a cast recording coming out or have their cast recordings available now. SOME aren’t on Spodify (sadly!!!) but all are available on iTunes.
A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder
A Night With Janis Joplin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Bullets Over Broadway
Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill
The Bridges of Madison County