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'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

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  • 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

    'Beauty' sets closing date

    Disney musical ends run after 13 years

    Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' will shutter after a 13-year run.

    By David Rooney
    Variety
    January 18, 2007

    Disney Theatricals will shake up the long-running Broadway landscape this year as the company ushers out "Beauty and the Beast" in July after its 13-year run to make way for its next toon-to-tuner adaptation, "The Little Mermaid," in the fall.

    Rialto insiders have been speculating for months about whether Disney would try to maintain five productions running simultaneously on Broadway, all pitched toward the same core family audience. "The Lion King" is still holding strong after nine years, newcomer "Mary Poppins" got off to a promising start in the fall, and spring 2006 opener "Tarzan" has weathered downbeat reviews to become a steady if not quite stellar performer.

    However, Disney Theatrical Prods. chief Thomas Schumacher insists the decision to close "Beauty and the Beast" July 29 was dictated not by fear of stretching the company too thin with audiences but by the desirability of the 1,500-seat Lunt-Fontanne Theater as the ideal house for its newest production.

    " 'Beauty and the Beast' has been a massive piece of business for us, with productions all over the world and thousands of licensed productions around the country," Schumacher told Daily Variety. "But the Broadway production now just kind of breaks even so it makes sense to begin a closing campaign and hopefully do as much business in the next six months as we would have done in a year or more."

    Directed by international opera helmer Francesca Zambello in her Broadway debut, "The Little Mermaid" is set to start previews Nov. 3 in New York with an official opening Dec. 6. Prior to that, the show will world-preem in a tryout run at Denver Center Attractions' Ellie Caulkins Opera House, starting previews July 27 for an official Aug. 23 opening.
    The Broadway handover represents a neat symmetry between two musicals with songs by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, developed from the two toon features that kick-started the renaissance of Disney's animation division.

    The closing of "Beauty and the Beast" also marks the end of the pre-Schumacher era of Disney theatrical ventures, which had more in common with old-school theme-park shows than with the more inventive stage spectacles that began with Julie Taymor's "The Lion King."

    Adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a magical underwater kingdom as told in Disney's 1989 animated film, "The Little Mermaid" features a book by Pulitzer and Tony-winning playwright Doug Wright ("I Am My Own Wife," "Grey Gardens") and music by Menken and Ashman, with nine additional new songs by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The film grossed $229 million worldwide and won two Oscars in 1990, for original score and song ("Under the Sea").

    The creative team will include Stephen Mear (choreography), George Tsypin (sets), Tatiana Noginova (costumes) and Natasha Katz (lighting). No casting has been announced but the Broadway rumor mill has been buzzing about Sherie Rene Scott ("Dirty Rotten Scoundrels") in the villainess role of Ursula the Sea Witch.

    Schumacher is reluctant to discuss how the show's underwater world will be conjured onstage, hinting only that low-tech creative solutions will be sought. "Francesca always says 'No water, no wire'," he explained. "There'll be a lot of choreography and a lot of music but they won't be swimming through the air on this one."

    "Beauty and the Beast" opened at the Palace Theater April 18, 1994, transferring to the Lunt-Fontanne five years later. It will have played 46 previews and 5,464 regular performances when it closes on Broadway, with an estimated final gross close to $450 million. Worldwide gross has exceeded $1.4 billion.

    "This is the longest running show in the history of both the Palace and the Lunt," Schumacher said. "I love that the kids who saw 'Beauty and the Beast' when they were 7 or 10 are now out of college and I hope a lot of them are the same ones going to see 'Spring Awakening.' We've definitely been a part of creating new Broadway audiences."

    During the coming weeks, in addition to monitoring rehearsals for the first international production of "Tarzan" opening in April in Amsterdam, Schumacher will be looking in on the first of six productions by professional companies of the stage version of Disney's newest franchise, "High School Musical." Starting this month with Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis and Theater of the Stars at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, those productions will serve as a prelude to licensed high school and community theater stagings across the country.

    "We'll be doing over 5,000 performances by professional companies for kids this year but these are mostly to chum the waters for the licensing property," Schumacher said. "But you can bet if one of these professional productions turns out to be great, we'll think about moving it. I'm not looking at New York but every option is open for 'High School Musical' right now.
    http://www.variety.com/article/VR111...goryid=15&cs=1
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

    This show has been clinging to life support (and stunt casting) for a couple of years now. I have nothing against it, as it was a fine production, but it's noce to see it finally make way for something fresh.


    Even if it is Little Mermaid (sorry. Not a fan.)



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    • #3
      Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

      I guess BPF and I know which show we're seeing the next time she visits.
      It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!









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      • #4
        Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

        all good things come to an end... but their is always that touring show which will be revived when the time is right....

        of course they could pack the shows stuff up and send it to a foreign park...

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        • #5
          Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

          Originally posted by figment1986 View Post
          of course they could pack the shows stuff up and send it to a foreign park...
          Ummm... that would be the Broadway production playing in New York. Not the Lame-O rubberhead show at Disney-MGM.

          Anyhow, all shows must eventually close and "Beauty" had a great run.


          Loved reading the quote in the article from Tom Schumacher saying that he'd hoped the kids who saw "Beauty" many years ago are seeing "Spring Awakening" now.

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          • #6
            Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

            I loved Beauty and the Beast...My first trip to New York was last year and It was my first broadway show. Im sad to see it end, but excited to go back and see Lil Mermaid. It will be exciting to see how they put everything to a broadway performance. The Lil Mermaid attraction at WDW is great and if it is going to be anything like that I think broadway will be in for a treat.
            HEARTS CLUB !!

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            • #7
              Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

              Originally posted by ron10036 View Post
              Loved reading the quote in the article from Tom Schumacher saying that he'd hoped the kids who saw "Beauty" many years ago are seeing "Spring Awakening" now.
              I'm totally infatuated with Spring Awakening at the moment!



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              • #8
                Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                it is funny....Beauty and the beast was my first and only broadway show I have seen....but that was only back in...2003.....so wasn't that long ago...I saw Christy Carlson Ramano(sp?) as Belle she was pretty good

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                • #9
                  Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                  personally I don't think a show should run more than 10 years on a broadway stage and beauty and the beast was running on twofers when I was in NY and that was summer of 2003. It has had a great run but is a very expensive production to do and if disney had five shows running, it would start to canabalize it's audience. I have seen beauty and the beast when the show came to florida and loved it. but it's definitely time for something fresh. not sure if the little mermaid is fresh enough though. It seems disney has become the andrew loyd webber of the millenium. let's hope they don't overdue it.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                    I am one of the kids who saw it when it came out and am in college now. I went to NYC this past summer and thought about seeing it again but then decided not to. I am sad to see it go, but it is past time.

                    I am quite skeptical about The Little Mermaid though. I have no idea how that is going to work. Hopefully well.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                      ORWEN: Well, I don't see why Alan Menken can't write some songs for a brand new stage production of THE BLACK CAULDRON, myself!! I mean, all those other productions already have more than enough songs to go around! Why can't us characters from the Land of Prydain start getting some tunes written for US to sing?! Then we could stage a whole new sort of 'come back' and finally get the proper attention we deserve!

                      ORGOCH: Not gonna' happen, sister! Not as long as yer still part a the cast, anyways. Ain't no stage big 'nuff ta hold ya an' ain't nobody out there dumb 'nuff ta write no songs ta be sung by a witch that sounds like a bull elephant in heat ev'ry time she tries ta yodel!

                      ORDDU: Actually, I think Orwen's idea is an excellent one. We may have failed at the box office but that's all the more reason for me to finally get a chance to star on Broadway as the leading lady in a re-make of THE BLACK CAULDRON. In other words, this time around there really should be more emphasis on a certain witch from Morva. I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Iger!!!

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                      • #12
                        Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                        wait the show on broadway? or in mgm?
                        i dont cause commosions i am one!
                        ..tell them how i am defying gravity, i'm flying high defying gravity!

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                        • #13
                          Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                          Originally posted by DefyingGravity View Post
                          wait the show on broadway? or in mgm?
                          Broadway



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                          • #14
                            Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                            Originally posted by Xharryb View Post
                            Broadway
                            oh thats pretty sad, i never got to see it i only got to perform in it at my school. oh well i'll miss the big signs and stuff, wonder whats going to join tarzan and mary poppins now
                            i dont cause commosions i am one!
                            ..tell them how i am defying gravity, i'm flying high defying gravity!

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                            • #15
                              Re: 'Beauty' sets closing date - Variety 1/18/07

                              The answers to your questions are in the origianl post.

                              Comment

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