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.
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.
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.