Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Broadway Rumour Report #1

Why do I get the feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of these over the next few months? :o)

Hot on the heels of Monday's initial rumour, that Mary Poppins was to close in March to make way for Aladdin, and yesterday's confirmation that Mary Poppins would indeed end its impressive 6 year run on March 3rd, comes another rumour regarding Aladdin!

The New York Post's Michael Riedel is reporting that Aladdin is to receive an extensive re-working with the book being rewritten, Alan Menken working on new songs and six time Tony Award winning set designer Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins, Aida, Once, The Coast of Utopia, Carousel, The History Boys) being brought on board to design the new production which is said to be much more elaborate than 2011's Pilot Production in Seattle.

The report does not mention if Tony Award winning director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw and book writer/lyricist Chad Begulin are involved with the new production, but considering that they both worked on revising the production between its 5th Avenue premiere and last year's regional productions I don't see any reason to assume that they aren't involved with the upcoming Broadway production.

In another exciting development Riedel is reporting that Disney is also rewriting another of their Alan Menken musicals - the long in development The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Peter Parnell is said to be writing a new book (James Lapine wrote the original book for the Berlin production) and Alan Menken is reported to be working with Stephen Schwartz on new songs for the production.  I'll admit I'm a little sad to see the original book being replaced, I never saw the show but the cast album sounded  gorgeous and what I did see on YouTube looked incredible and very emotionally powerful.  I know the general belief is Disney felt it was too dark for a family show, but it was just so moving even on a small YouTube video that the idea of changing it does worry me a little.  I'd urge anyone reading to have a look at some of the subtitled videos on YouTube if they've still available.  Done well, I honestly think that The Hunchback of Notre Dame has the potential to be Disney's greatest show (even if my favourite will always be Aladdin) and I appreciate that they are taking the time to get it right rather than rush it to Broadway.

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