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4 Disney Musicals Rumored to Be Headed to Broadway

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


We’re going down the Broadway rumor rabbit hole for these Disney musicals

Broadway is certainly a place to find family-friendly entertainment, especially of the Disney variety. In the past, we have enjoyed such Disney-produced musicals as Beauty and the Beast, Aida, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies and Tarzan. Currently, on Broadway, there are three Disney offerings guaranteed to brighten your day with a “Happily Ever After”: The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen. Looking forward, it’s fun to think about the possible Disney musical ventures that might be on the Broadway horizon. Whether it be by pixie dust or wishful thinking, here are four titles that have been rumored to be in development that we’d like to see make their way to the Great White Way.

Esmeralda and company from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ may be making their way to a Broadway stage soon (Photo: Walt Disney World)

Esmeralda and company from ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ may be making their way to a Broadway stage soon (Photo: Walt Disney World)

Hercules

The 1997 animated film Hercules appears to be the most likely title to come to Broadway in the near future. The score by Alan Menken (A Bronx Tale, Aladdin) and David Zippel (City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl) is a gospel-meets-Broadway style mix, with songs like “Zero to Hero,” “Go the Distance,” “The Gospel Truth” and “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” as standouts. In 2017, Menken announced that he was working on a stage version of Hercules, the story of a hero of mythical proportions who becomes a pawn in Hades’ wicked game to overthrow his brother Zeus (Hercules’ father) and rule Mount Olympus.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

It has enjoyed well-received productions all over, and yet the stage version of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame has yet to make its way to Broadway. Could it only be a matter of time before we see Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Phoebus and Judge Claude Frollo on Broadway? The stage version of the musical premiered in Berlin, Germany in 1999 and ran for three years, making it one of the city’s longest-running musicals. With a book by James Lapine (Falsettos, Into the Woods) and a score by Alan Menken (Sister Act) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), the musical is based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo and the 1996 Disney animated film of the same name.

The Jungle Book

In 2013, a stage version of the Disney animated musical The Jungle Book received positive press when it premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, then moved on to the Huntington Theatre Company. Is there any hope that the production – which was staged by Tony-winner Mary Zimmerman – will find its way to Broadway? Based on Rudyard Kipling’s stories about a boy named Mowgli who grows up in the jungle and is raised by its animal inhabitants, The Jungle Book was a 1967 animated film featuring a score by Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman of Mary Poppins fame. Footage from the Goodman production revealed an inventive approach to the material that we sure would like to see on a Broadway stage.

Alice in Wonderland

It’s not the 1951 animated Disney classic, but 2010 Disney live-action version of Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton, that has been long-rumored to come to Broadway. Going back as far as 2011, it has been suggested that Burton himself would oversee the film’s transformation into a musical property, with book writer Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast) working on the musical’s book. The film features a combination of characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, with an original twist of an adult Alice returning to the wondrous world of her childhood. The gestation on this project has been a long one, so we can only hope that it will eventually take Broadway audiences on a trip down the rabbit hole.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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