Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ Sets Initial Principal Casting

Initial principal casting has been announced for Broadway’s Frozen, the new musical based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning musical film. As previously reported, the show will play the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Buell Theatre August 17–October 1 before arriving on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre.

The cast will be led by Caissie Levy and Patti Murin as Arendelle’s royal sisters.

Levy, who last appeared on Broadway as Fantine in the revival of Les Miserables, will create the role of Elsa, a young woman wrestling with powers beyond her comprehension or control (voiced on screen by Idina Menzel). Levy’s additional credits include Ghost and Hair, both in the West End and on Broadway, as well as Broadway’s Wicked and Hairspray.

Murin, who made her Broadway debut in Xanadu and has since appeared on the New York stage in Lysistrata Jones, Lady, Be Good!, and Love Labour’s Lost, will star as Elsa’s younger sister Anna, who tries to reconnect with the person once closest to her.

The two will be joined by Greg Hildreth (Peter and the Starcatcher, Cinderella, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Olaf, Robert Creighton (The Little Mermaid, Anything Goes, Off-Broadway’s Cagney) as Duke of Weselton, John Riddle (The Visit) as Hans, and Jelani Alladin in his Broadway debut as Kristoff. Additional principal and ensemble casting will be announced soon.

Tony winner Michael Grandage (Red) directs the production.

Producers also announced April 17 that Tony Award winner Rob Ashford has joined Frozen’s creative team as choreographer. Christopher Gattelli, previously announced as choreographer, has chosen to leave the show ahead of rehearsals in June. Ashford is a Tony winner for Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Single tickets for the Denver engagement, which start at $25 with a limit of eight tickets per account, will go on sale May 1 at 10 AM MT at DenverCenter.org. Tickets for the Broadway production will go on sale later this year.

In spring 2018, Frozen will join Disney Theatrical’s other Broadway mainstays The Lion King and Aladdin. Broadway dates will be announced at a later date. Levy and Murin were previously announced to play Elsa and Anna in a developmental lab.

The new musical features music and lyrics by the creators of the film’s score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and EGOT winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here), and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck).

The design team for Frozen includes Tony- and Olivier-winner scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram (Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Evita), Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz (Aladdin; Hello, Dolly!; An American in Paris), and sound designer Peter Hylenski (The Scottsboro Boys, Motown, After Midnight).

Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Wicked, The Book of Mormon) is music supervisor and creates vocal and incidental arrangements.

Frozen won two Oscars in 2014: Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.

Frozen is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Frozen is Coming to Broadway in 2018

Elsa-Frozen

For the first time in forever, Frozen is coming to Broadway! Rumors about the show have been swirling for some time now, but the official announcement was released today. The all-new show will be joining the likes of the critically acclaimed Aladdin and The Lion King in spring 2018. The pre-Broadway engagement is slated to kick off summer 2017.

The musical, based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning film, Frozen, will feature music and lyrics by songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Winnie the Pooh) and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, Book of Mormon), who also wrote the music for the film. The story will be based on a book by the film’s screenwriter, Jennifer Lee. Though the cast won’t be announced until later, there are a ton of talented folks already attached to the project, including Tony Award-winner Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Mozart in the Jungle), and Peter Darling (Billy Elliot, Matilda), who will serve as director and choreographer respectively.

The design team is equally impressive, featuring scenic and costume designer Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), lighting designer Natasha Katz (Aladdin), sound designer Peter Hylenski, and music supervisor Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Wicked, Book of Mormon).

Newsies to End it’s Unexpected Broadway Run

Newsies

After a 2½ year run that defied initial expectations to become the fastest-recouping show in Disney Theatrical’s history, Newsies will conclude its Broadway stay on Aug. 24 before embarking on a national tour.

The decision comes as something of a surprise given that the show continues to play to 85 to 95 percent capacity houses at the Nederlander Theatre, and has been in profit since earning back its initial $5 million investment in record time just nine months after opening.

However, unlike other producers who tend to stick it out as long as possible, Disney has a history of shuttering productions like Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast before any anticipated decline in box office has time to set in.

With a little north of $100 million in grosses and admissions of just over 1 million to date, Newsies is small potatoes compared to Disney’s unstoppable behemoth The Lion King, which last year was the top-selling show on Broadway and the first in history to cross the $1 billion box office threshold. But the success ofNewsies is remarkable nonetheless, given the modest original ambitions of the production.

Retooled out of the 1992 Kenny Ortega film that starred a youngChristian Bale, the show was developed in response to numerous licensing requests and was intended as a vehicle for nonprofessional productions. While the movie was a costly flop in theaters, it later built up a devoted following in Disney Channel showings and as a home-entertainment title.

Enthusiastic critical and commercial response to the stage show’s pilot run at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011 prompted Disney to try a limited 13-week Broadway engagement. Brisk early box office around the New York opening in March 2012 dictated an immediate extension, and then a subsequent switch to an open-ended run.

“From our first performance, we have been humbled by the spontaneous and genuine outpouring of affection from fans and the theater community alike,” said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer, Disney Theatrical Productions.

Newsies won two Tony Awards in 2012, for the score by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman, and for Christopher Gattelli’s athletic choreography. Adapted for the stage by book writerHarvey Fierstein and directed by Jeff Calhoun, the show supplements the handful of anthemic tunes from the movie with seven new songs.

Inspired by the New York City newsboys strike of 1899, the musical pits a scrappy band of orphans and runaways against such publishing titans of the era as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in demanding a fair deal.

The Broadway production will have played 1,005 performances by the time it closes this summer. That makes it the second-longest run in the Nederlander Theatre’s 93-year history, bested only by Rent.

The national tour kicks off in October and is scheduled for 25 cities over 43 weeks during the 2014-15 season. That includes a Los Angeles leg, running March 24 through April 19, 2015, at the Hollywood Pantages.

Disney continues to be represented on Broadway by The Lion King, now in its 17th year, and Aladdin, which opened in March and has been doing stellar business of more than $1 million a week. The latter show earned a Tony this year for featured actor James Monroe Iglehart’s scene-stealing performance as the Genie.

Disney’s Aladdin Receives Five Tony Award® Nominations

aladdinbroadway

Disney’s new musical comedy Aladdin today received five Tony Award® nominations, including Best Musical. Additionally, Aladdin was recognized with nominations for Best Original Score (Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin), Best Book of a Musical (Chad Beguelin), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (James Monroe Iglehart), and Best Choreography (Casey Nicholaw). This season, Aladdin has already been nominated for eight Outer Critics Circle Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, and two Drama League Awards, including Best Musical nods from all three organizations.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the show features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and three-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs (Les Miserables, The Lion King) in the title role, Courtney Reed (In the Heights, Mamma Mia) as Jasmine, Tony Award nominee James Monroe Iglehart (Memphis, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Genie, and, as Jafar, Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman (Mary Poppins, The Producers, She Loves Me) brings to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film. The show also stars Brian Gonzales, Brandon O’Neill and Jonathan Schwartz as Aladdin’s sidekicks Babkak, Kassim and Omar, Clifton Davis as Sultan and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago.  Merwin Foard and Michael James Scott stand by for several principals.

In a cast of 34, Aladdin also features Tia Altinay, Mike Cannon, Andrew Cao, Lauryn Ciardullo, Joshua Dela Cruz, Yurel Echezarreta, Daisy Hobbs, Donald Jones, Jr., Adam Kaokept, Nikki Long, Stanley Martin, Brandt Martinez, Michael Mindlin, Rhea Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Ariel Reid, Jennifer Rias, Trent Saunders, Jaz Sealey, Dennis Stowe, Marisha Wallace, and Bud Weber.

Aladdin, adapted from the Disney film and centuries-old folktales including One Thousand and One Nights, is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy, and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, grossing over $500 million worldwide (not adjusted for inflation) and becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

The film won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song. The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Aladdin is designed by six-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, three-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis.

The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer Josh Marquette, and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.

 

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to Embark on International Tour

Beauty & the Beast - Stage

In celebration of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast‘s 20th anniversary on stage, Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group will present the first international tour of the title, which will open at Istanbul’s Zorlu Center in October 2014.

The English-language tour — which will play diverse international markets including Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, marking the first time the musical will have been seen in these territories—will reunite the musical’s original Broadway creative team.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with NETWorks and Broadway Entertainment Group, to launch this first-ever international tour,” said Ron Kollen, senior vice president, international, for Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. “To premiere Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in these cities throughout the Middle East and Asia, is a perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our beloved stage musical.”

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Rob Roth and choreographed by Matt West, with Tony Award-winning costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Natasha Katz, scenic design by Stanley A. Meyer, sound design by John Petrafesa Jr. and music supervision by Michael Kosarin.

Auditions are currently underway in the U.S., and casting will be announced in the coming months.

Liz Koops, producer for Broadway Entertainment Group, added, “The world of touring entertainment is constantly evolving and we wanted to begin an international circuit to bring top quality entertainment into emerging markets. What better way to start than with one of the world’s most beloved and successful musicals, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”

Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated feature film of the same name, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway in 1994, where it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran for 13 years.

Since its debut, the title’s visibility and success has expanded globally with subsequent productions produced around the world. Since licensing of the title began in 2004, there have been productions in 22 countries, seen by more than 35 million people, translated into 8 different languages with over 28,000 performances — equivalent to a run of 67 years, generating over $1.7 billion in revenue.

In the U.S., Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has been licensed to over 6,000 individual theatres including professional, community and school productions. It was the first Disney Theatrical Productions title in countries across Scandinavia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia, among others.

Currently, there are four productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beastplaying around the world, including Paris and tours in North America, Japan and Germany.

Beauty and the Beast, according to Disney, “is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.”

The musical boasts music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.

Newsies Celebrates Second Anniversary on Broadway

Newsies

Newsies, the Tony Award-winning musical based on the Disney feature film, celebrated two years on Broadway on Saturday, March 29, at the Nederlander Theatre in New York. The musical was originally announced for 101 performances in 2012, and is now approaching its 900th performance.Newsies, which embarks upon a national tour in Fall 2014, won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Score and Choreography.

Walt Disney Records To Release Aladdin Original Broadway Cast Recording Featuring Exclusive Bonus Content

Aladdin - Broadway CD

The cast of the new Broadway smash, Disney’s Aladdin is currently in the studio laying down tracks for the Original Cast Recording of the show, to be released by Walt Disney Records digitally on Tuesday, May 27th.  The physical album is set for release on Tuesday, June 17th and will also be available for purchase in-theater.  The Aladdin Original Broadway Cast Recording will be produced by Alan MenkenMichael KosarinFrank Filipetti and Chris Montan and executive produced by Kurt Deutsch.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, Aladdin features music by Tony Award® and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken(Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and two-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).   This new production features a full score, including the Oscar and Grammy® winning hit “A Whole New World,” and four other cherished songs from the film and multi Grammy-winning original motion picture soundtrack.  The cast album also includes four Menken/Beguelin songs written especially for the stage and three Menken/Ashman songs that were cut from the original film, plus exclusive bonus content created especially for the album.

Disney’s Aladdin, the new musical comedy based on the Academy Award®-winning animated film, opened to critical acclaim onMarch 20th, 2014 at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. USA Today raves, “Pure GENIE-US! Aladdin delivers a rush that will surprise you.” The Associated Press exclaims, “Disney hits magic again…a wonder to behold!” while The New York Times hails the show as “Fabulous… Extravagant!” and the Daily News declares, “Seriously, it’s amazing!”

Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs (Les MiserablesThe Lion King) in the title role, Courtney Reed (In the HeightsMamma Mia) as Jasmine, James Monroe Iglehart (MemphisThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Genie, and, as Jafar, Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman (Mary PoppinsThe ProducersShe Loves Me) brings to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film.  The show also stars Brian GonzalesBrandon O’Neill and Jonathan Schwartz as Aladdin’s sidekicks Babkak, Kassim and Omar, Clifton Davis as Sultan and Don Darryl Rivera as Iago.