Everything to Know About Disney on Broadway!

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Disney has officially been making magic on Broadway for 25 years! As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Disney on Broadway is partnering with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to put on a special benefit to celebrate the momentous occasion. We're getting in on the celebration by looking back at Disney's show-stopping productions, from classics like Beauty and the Beast and Newsies to current favorites like Aladdin and Frozen. Check it all out below!

The concert, produced in partnership with Disney Theatrical Productions, will be on November 4th at 8 p.m. at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Aladdin. The evening will feature beloved songs from Aida, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies, Tarzan and a few surprises along the way.

The night will include stars including Jelani Alladin, Heidi Blickenstaff, Sierra Boggess, Ashley Brown, Christian Borle, Kerry Butler, Lauryn Ciardullo, Gavin Creel, Merle Dandridge, Susan Egan, Andrew Barth Feldman, Bradley Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg, Mandy Gonzalez, April Holloway, James Monroe Iglehart, Adam Jacobs, Ramona Keller, Nina Lafarga, Tamika Lawrence, Beth Leavel, Norm Lewis, Kara Lindsay, Ashley Park, Adam Pascal, Krysta Rodriguez, Michael James Scott, Sherie Rene Scott, Kissy Simmons, Josh Strickland, Katie Terza, Rema Webb, and Alton Fitzgerald White, and Syndee Winters, as well as the Grammy Award-nominated choir Broadway Inspirational Voices. There will also be a Newsies reunion featuring alumni from the show's Broadway and national touring companies.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Disney's first venture on Broadway was its tale as old as time. Based on the Academy Award-winning 1991 animated film of the same name, Beauty and the Beast had its out-of-town tryout at Houston's Theatre Under the Stars before arriving on Broadway. The show began previews on March 9, 1994 and officially opened on April 18, 1994 at Broadway's Palace Theatre. The show later transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1999. The production was nominated for nine 1994 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won one for Best Costume Design.

The original Broadway cast starred Susan Egan, Terrence Mann, and Gary Beach. The Broadway production ran for thirteen, closing on July 29, 2007 after 46 previews and 5,461 performances. It is currently the tenth longest-running show in Broadway history. The show has been produced in 37 countries worldwide and has played in thirteen countries and 115 cities. It was also reported that Disney Theatrical Productions will revive the show internationally in several years, headed by the original creative team and featuring new designs and dance arrangements. Thomas Schumacher, the president and producer of Disney Theatrical, revealed earlier this year that he is working on a revival of Beauty and the Beast, stating "I'm not announcing location or time, but I am deep in it, so yeah, it's happening."


AIDA

Aida's theatrical success was written in the stars! The show, based on the opera of the same name, featured a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, as well as a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang. The show received its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia under the name Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida. A new revised production opened one year later at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago. The production began previews on Broadway on February 25, 2000 before officially opening on March 23, 2000 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards and won four of them, including Best Original Score.

The original Broadway cast featured Heather Headley, Adam Pascal, and Sherie Rene Scott. The Broadway production ran for 1,852 performances, officially closing on September 5, 2004. The show launched a U.S. national tour in 2001 and received its first international production in the Netherlands in later that same year. Aida has now been translated into fifteen languages. The New York Post reported earlier this year that a national tour of the show could be in the works for 2021, directed by original Broadway cast member Schele Williams.

According to the Post, the production will be directed by Schele Williams, a former cast member of the original Broadway production.


THE LION KING

Audiences have been experiencing the circle of life on Broadway with The Lion King for over two decades! The show, based on the classic 1994 animated film of the same name, premiered at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota before heading to Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. The Broadway production began previews on October 15, 1997 before officially opening on November 13, 1997. The show moved to its current home of the Minksoff Theatre in June 2006. The show won six 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Its director, Julie Taymor, became the first woman to win Best Direction of a Musical for the work she did on the production.

The Broadway original cast featured Jason Raize, Heather Headley, Samuel E. Wright, and John Vickery.. Over 100 million people worldwide have seen The Lion King. It is Broadway's third longest-running show in history and has grossed more than $1 billion, making it the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. The show opened in London's West End in October 1999 and is still running there after more than 7,500 performances. The show has been translated into seven different languages and performed in 15 different countries on five continents.


TARZAN

Tarzan was in the heart of audiences when he arrived on Broadway! The show, based on the 1999 animated film of the same name, featured a score by Phil Collins and a book by David Henry Hwang. The Broadway production began previews on March 24, 2006 before officially opening on May 10, 2006 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show was nominated for a 2006 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical.

The original Broadway cast starred Josh Strickland, Jenn Gambatese, and Merle Dandridge. The Broadway production closed on July 8, 2007 after 35 previews and 486 performances. The show received its first international production in April 2007 in the Netherlands. The show has also been seen in Sweden, the Philippines, and Germany. It has also received U.S. regional productions at Utah's Tuacahn Center for the Arts and St. Louis's The Muny.


MARY POPPINS

It's a jolly holiday with Mary Poppins on Broadway! Fusing elements from the 1964 film with P. L. Travers' original children's books, the production began in London's West End in December 2004, where it won two Olivier Awards. The Broadway production began previews on October 14, 2006 before officially opening on November 16, 2006 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The production was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won one for Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

The original Broadway cast starred Ashley Brown, Gavin Lee, and Rebecca Luker. The show ran for over six years, playing for 2,619 performances before closing on Broadway on March 3, 2013. The show had two different UK tours, as well as a U.S. national tour. The show had its first foreign-language production in October 2008 and has now been translated into thirteen languages. The magical nanny is returning to London's Prince Edward Theatre with the return of Mary Poppins this fall. The production began previews in the West End on October 23, 2019 and will officially open on November 13.


THE LITTLE MERMAID

Audiences headed under the sea for Disney's stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid! Based on the beloved 1989 animated film, the production had its out-of-town tryout Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Ellie Caulkins Opera House before heading to Broadway's Lunt Fontanne Theatre. The Broadway production began previews on November 3, 2007 and and officially opened on January 10, 2008. The production was nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Original Score.

The original Broadway cast starred Sierra Boggess, Tituss Burgess, Sherie Rene Scott, Norm Lewis, and Derrick Baskin. The Broadway production closed on August 30, 2009, after 50 previews and 685 performances. Regional productions of the show have been seen all across the countyr, including at The Muny, Sacramento Music Circus, and Paper Mill Playhouse. The show has also received several international productions, including ones in The Netherlands, Russia, Japan, Denmark.


NEWSIES

They're The Kings Of New York! Newsies, based on the 1992 movie musical, arrived on Broadway having an acclaimed run at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in September 2011. The show was initially only intended only as a pilot production before being licensed for regional, professional and amateur productions. The production began previews March 15, 2012 at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre and officially opened on March 29, 2012. While it was originally intended to be a limited 101 performance run, the production quickly extended before eventually becoming an open-ended run. The show won two 2012 Tony Awards, for Best Original Score and Best Choreography. Newsies ran for over 1000 performances, closing on August 24, 2014.

The original Broadway cast starred Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, and Andrew Keenan-Bolger. The production also launched a national tour in October 2014 with Dan DeLuca as Jack Kelly and Stephanie Styles as Katherine. The show was also filmed for theatrical release during the tour's run at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, with Jordan, Lindsay, Fankhauser, and Keenan-Bolger all returning to reprise their roles.


PETER AND THE STARCATCHER

Audiences took a trip to Neverland for Disney Theatrical Productions' first straight play, Peter and the Starcatcher! The play, based on the 2004 novel Peter and the Starcatchers, was adapted for the stage by Tony winner Rick Elice and directed by Alex Timbers. The show told the story of how a young orphan came to be the boy who won't grow up, Peter Pan. The production premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse before transferring to Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop and later Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it officially opened on April 15, 2012.

The show's original Broadway cast included Adam Chanler-Berat, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Christian Borle. The production won five 2012 Tony Awards, including one for Borle's performance as Black Stache. The Broadway production closed on January 20, 2013 before re-opening at Off-Broadway's New World Stages and going on a national tour.


ALADDIN

You ain't never had friends like them! Broadway audiences have been heading on a magic carpet ride with Aladdin, Jasmine, and more for over five years! The production, based on the 1992 animated film, had out-of-town tryouts in Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre and Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre before making its way to the New Amsterdam Theatre. The Broadway production of Aladdin began previews on February 26, 2014 before officially opening on March 20, 2014. The show received five Tony nominations and won one for James Monroe Iglehart's performance as the Genie.

The original Broadway cast starred Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, James Monroe Iglehart, and Jonathan Freeman. The show has also been making magic across the globe, with a North American national tour, as well as productions in London, Sydney, New Zealand, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hamburg.


FROZEN

The storm is currently raging on with Frozen on Broadway! Based on the smash hit 2013 animated film of the same name, the production was brought to the stage by much of the film's creative team, including songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and writer Jennifer Lee. The show had its out-of-town tryout at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado before making its way to Broadway's St. James Theatre. The Broadway production began previews on February 22, 2018 before officially opening on March 22, 2018. The production was nominated for four 2018 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The original Broadway cast starred Caissie Levy, Patti Murin, Jelani Alladin, Greg Hildreth, and John Riddle. The production is set to launch its national tour on November 10, 2019 at the Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, New York starring Caroline Bowman and Caroline Innerbichler. The show is set to have its international premiere at Sydney's Capitol Theatre in July 2020, and a West End production is set to hit London later in 2020.



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From This Author Linnae Medeiros