Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Broadway Beckons..?

Adam Jacobs as Aladdin in 5th Avenue's Pilot Production, Photo by Mark Kitaoka
Yesterday afternoon there was a very exciting (but equally sad) rumour reported by The New York Times.  According to "two Broadway theatre executives" Disney Theatrical's long running Mary Poppins is set to close on March 3rd to make way for the Broadway debut of Aladdin!  However, don't go booking that plane ticket just yet as it's reported that the New Amsterdam Theatre is to receive extensive renovations, which could take several months, prior to Al and his pals making their premiere in spring 2014.

Whilst it's just a rumour, this story has now been carried by pretty much all of the major Broadway news sites, such as Playbill, Broadway.com, Broadway World and others, including The Wrap which reports that "the Broadway production will involve a major new key player on the creative team" (though other articles have stated that it remains unclear whether or not there will be any additions to the creative team).

Most of the articles also claim that the show will be significantly overhauled from the 5th Avenue Pilot Production in Seattle in 2011 (though others have said that this also remains uncertain).  The Tuacahn, Muny and international productions last year were all based on a revised and expanded version of the original book, and each had unique staging and creative choices, so it's not unreasonable to think that further revisions will have been made based on audiences reactions to those productions (the Tuacahn had a survey on their website from Disney asking for feedback on the show).

Obviously nothing is official until Disney confirms it, but with the rumoured closing date of Mary Poppins less than 2 months away I'd expect to hear at least a denial or confirmation of that in the not too distant future. Mary Poppins is currently booking through to August but sadly that means very little (I had 20th July tickets booked for Tarzan when the show was pulled with literally 2 weeks notice) so I'd expect Disney to clear that up to give ticket buyers peace of mind - The Little Mermaid's closure was announced 2 months in advance (and that too was booking past it's closing date at the time).  We're already past the 2 month point for Mary Poppins, so if the rumour is true expect to hear something sooner rather than later.

Sad times for Mary Poppins (I remember seeing it back when it was running in London and had a great time), but fantastic news for Aladdin.  Hopefully Disney can get as much of the original Seattle cast back together as possible, they deserve first shot at this and I'd love them to be on the CD!

And finally, a quick apology (again!) for the lack of updates.  The holidays just crept up on me this year and the updates I meant to do just kept getting pushed back.  I'm hoping that this weekend I can get caught up with all the news from the international productions that I missed (I hear both were fantastic - congratulations to all involved - and that the show was so popular it's going back to Denmark this year!).  Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all had a truly magical holiday season.

UPDATE - Well that was a lot faster than I expected!  Mary Poppins' official site has confirmed that the show will play its final Broadway performance on March 3rd.  All I can say is that my heart goes out to the cast and crew of this great show and I wish them all the very best for the remainder of their run and for the future.

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