With the Broadway debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much anticipated opus Hamilton coming up on July 13 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the Great White Way is abuzz with praise for the new musical. Ben Brantley of The New York Times, the paper itself a bastion of restraint and the last word in theatre reviews, gushed, “HISTORIC. HAMILTON is brewing up a revolution. This is a show that aims impossibly high and hits its target. It's probably not possible to top the adrenaline rush. A MARVEL.” Fellow Gray Lady mainstay David Brooks similarly decreed, “BRILLIANT. HAMILTON is one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in a theater. Bold, rousing, sexy, tear-jerking and historically respectful — the sort of production that asks you to think afresh about your country and your life.” And the reviews gush on, and on, and on.
Broadway regulars should be just about clear of their hangovers today, though we wouldn’t fault them for calling in “sick” a second day; there was plenty to celebrate after Sunday night’s pomp and circumstance. Though we won’t go so far as to declare 2015 as the “Year of the Woman” on Broadway, women did make a serious splash at the 69th Annual Tony Awards.
With Aladdin slated to make its Broadway debut in little more than a month, as well as the confirmation that "Frozen" will be the next film to be adapted for the theater stage, I can't help but think of what other films from the beloved company would do well on stage. To be clear, to me there is a difference between a story simply being adapted for the theater and the Walt Disney production company taking one of its films and making it a Broadway hit. In the latter scenario, there is something magical that happens when the finished product is ready for the stage.
Here are four other films I'd like to see turned into productions that could rival The Lion King and Mary Poppins.
Alice in Wonderland
What the 1951 film lacks in songs, it more than makes up for in visual effects. The mad tea party, the shrinking and growing of Alice, the magical forest, and the Queen's court would all make incredible sets on stage. Then there are the characters, such as the White Rabbit, Cheshire cat, Caterpillar, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Mad Hatter and March Hare, and the Queen of Hearts, who would be fun to see live. The costumes would be bright, over-the-top, and probably a bit like a Dr. Seuss book.
While the start of each year tends to inspire a lull on Broadway, there are lots of shows to look forward to in 2014. Shows about the French revolution; shows about German rockstars; shows about poor-beggars-turned-princes; and shows about... Rocky Balboa? Here are a few Broadway productions to look forward to this year.
Type of Show: Musical
Previews: February 11, 2014
Opening Date: March 13, 2014
Synopsis: A debt collector turned club fighter gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he's offered a chance at the world heavyweight championship.
Why Non-Theater Lovers Should Care: Curiosity's sake will probably drive a few to check out Rocky. Rocky Balboa is a character you can root for and it'll be weirdly interesting to see how they managed to turn the film into a musical. Plus, Sylvester Stallone — the writer, director, and star behind the original "Rocky" film — is involved in the project. It may sound bizarre in theory, but the musical could work.
Carly Rae Jepsen will go from "Call Me, Maybe" to "Bippity Boppity Boo." Jepsen will make her Broadway debut in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. She will play the lead role as Cinderella for 12 weeks, beginning Feb. 4.
Jepsen — who first rose to fame when she placed third in the fifth season of "Canadian Idol" — will replace original cast member Laura Osnes. Osnes has received a Tony Award nomination for her role.
Although this is the first time Jepsen will perform on Broadway, she has previous theater experiencing, including her time at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.
Of the role, Jepsen has said, "Broadway has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I look forward to working with this incredibly talented cast to tell this classic tale. These last few years have been a real fairy tale come to life for me, so I feel especially blessed to play this part and be reminded that you must never stop dreaming!"
While "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland isn't happy about the casting, what do you think?