*If you have a kid, know a kid or if you ever were a kid, you’ve seen a Disney movie. And if you’ve seen a Disney movie, you most likely have loved a Disney movie.
From Lion King to Frozen to Aladdin, there is something about Disney that captures the imagination. When you take the magic of Disney and add it to the Broadway stage, you get something truly special. Some of the most successful Broadway musicals were adapted from Disney movies.
Here are some of the best Disney productions of the past, those currently running and what to expect in the future.
The 1992 film starred Whoopi Goldberg (pictured Above) as Deloris Van Carter, a lounge singer on the run, who poses as a nun and helps a group of Catholic school students and nuns find their musical groove. When former Disney Studios president Peter Schneider decided to venture into theater, he brought Whoopi on board to produce the musical adaptation for the Broadway stage. Patina Miller shined in the lead role, both in the Broadway production and on the West End, as did Kingsley Leggs as Curtis Shank.
Beauty and the Beast
“Beauty and the Beast” opened on Broadway in 1993, led by Disney alum Ron Logan and was such a success that it led him to found Walt Disney Theatrical, the company responsible for some of the most successful film-to-stage Disney adaptations, IBDB says. Beauty ran until 2007, becoming one of Broadway’s longest-running shows. Many actors assumed the lead role of Belle, notably Toni Braxton, who was the first African American to play the role on Broadway, from 1998-1999.
“Aladdin” is the latest Disney movie to make the move to Broadway, debuting in 2014 and currently staged at the New Amsterdam Theatre on West 42nd Street. The songs from the film version were updated and supplemented by the original composer for the stage version. The show was nominated for five Tony awards in 2014, including James Monroe Iglehart, who won for his portrayal of Genie, says Backstage.
The Lion King
“The Lion King” is widely regarded as the best Disney on Broadway production — it is certainly the most successful. The musical has grossed over $6 billion worldwide, and the Broadway show is the third longest-running musical in Broadway history, starting its run in 1997, Theatre Nerds reports. In its debut year, the Lion King won 15 Tony Awards, including Tsidii Le Loka for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and director Julie Taymor, who was the first woman to win a Tony for Outstanding Director. The unique choreography, outstanding puppetry, elaborate costumes and memorable songs, all performed by a majority black cast, make it not just a musical for children, but something worth a trip to NYC to see.
Before your kids get into a frenzy over being able to see the show that spawned the song “Let It Go” in person, “Frozen” is not opening until the spring of 2018. It is certainly one of the most anticipated new Broadway shows, and not just by the under-12 set. Disney Theatrical Productions announced the cast and Broadway experts approve. The show, which will run at the St. James Theatre, includes Caissie Levy as Elsa, Patti Murin as Anna and Jelani Alladin as Kristoff.