A little while ago I was having a very Hamilton day so I decided to write about ten shows that I think should be added to Disney+. Once it was posted I was given a lot of suggestions of shows many thought I missed out, so it just made sense to do a list with ten MORE stage shows with some of your suggestions in mind.
Please note that Ratatouille is not on this non-ranked list, though my Jordey-sense says its cards might very well be on the table.
Based upon the opera of the same name, Aida follows the story of Princess Aida, an Ethyopian princess, who has fallen in love with an Egyptian warrior named Radames.
I don’t know much more than that since Disney’s version of Aida has never been staged professionally in the UK, despite its music and lyrics being written by Sir Elton John and Sir Tim Rice, though the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society did perform it in March 2013.
Aida is one of Disney’s earlier musicals and while it was a success, running for more than 4 years on Broadway, it isn’t as revered as its Disney siblings, possibly due to it not being based on anything specifically Disney.
With a new tour scheduled to begin in this year, there’s no time like present to record the musical for a potential release – well… providing it’s safe for them to do so…
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was so close to making my first list, but it was just edged out by other musicals, which is surprising since my love for the original Berlin production is STRONG (I know all the words 👀).
Hunchback’s history as a stage musical dates all the way back to 1998 when it was first announced to be Disney’s first theatrical production to debut outside the United States. It would then open a year later at the Berlin Theatre (now called Theater am Potsdamer Platz) and eventually closed in 2002 after a very successful run.
The original production was unique not only for its darker tones, but for it’s unique scenic design as its stage was split into several hyrdalic boxes which could rise and fall the required height and then projections would help set the scene further. Unfortunatly, this expensive set piece has since been axed since the revamping of the musical.
The musical was dormant until 2014 when it finally made its professional debut outside of Germany, and for the first time in English. This version follows the same plot of the 1999 German production but includes new characters, songs, and a scenic design to make it look and feel like you’re in Notre Dame cathedral.
When it came to producing a new show on Broadway, Disney had to decide between launching Hunchback or Frozen, and sadly for us Hunchback fans, it was pushed aside for Frozen the Musical. Hunchback did go on to see various regional performances as well as a return to Germany, but all has gone quiet, and since Disney has no larger plans for the musical, they should absolutely record the show for Disney+.
The meme is a just joke, see my first list where Frozen the Musical was chosen over The Hunchback of Notre Dame, if you don’t believe me 😅.
3. On the Record
Don’t be too shocked if you’ve never heard of Disney’s On the Record because sometimes I think even they have forgotten about it.
On the Record was Disney’s attempt at the jukebox musical, using their own songs to tell the story of four singers who are recording a greatest hits album in a magical recording studio. The plot is ehhhhhhhhh, but it’s always nice to dabble into forgotten history, especially when it’s a musical that has over 75 years of Disney music.
The musical only had a short lived US tour in 2004 and instead of another Ryan Seacrest Family Singalong, Disney should gather their best talents to stage this musical, just to spice their singalong catalogue a bit.
4. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
If you’re a theatre nerd then the chances that you’ve heard of the catastrophe that was Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are high. But have you seen it?
The Lion King’s Julie Taymor was the one that helped bring Spider-Man to the Broadway stage and it was no easy feat. The show was infamous for its behind the scenes troubles from a muddled script to actors becoming hospitalized due to the intense stunt work that needed to be performed. Taymor would eventually find herself replaced as director while Philip William McKinley was brought in to shape things up.
When the musical finally did open on June 14th 2011, it already held the record for longest preview period on Broadway with 182 performances, due to the constantly shifting opening date.
The show follows the basic Spider-Man formula. Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, he becomes Spider-Man, he has to fight some enemies. You know the story even if you haven’t seen the show.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is the most expensive Broadway musical to date, costing over $75 million, an investment it never made back before its eventual closure on January 4th 2014.
I’m unsure whether Sony would automatically hold the rights over any recordings of the stage musical considering that they own the Spider-Man film rights, but if possible, then Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark would be an incredibly interesting addition to Disney+ – even if it’s not that good.
5. La Nouba
La Nouba premiered at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney (now called Disney Springs) in 1998 and was performed there until December 31st 2017, where a new Disney and Cirque du Soleil collaboration named Drawn to Life will take its place in February 2021.
While the show has never been performed outside of Walt Disney World, like many Cirque du Soleil shows, La Nouba has already been recorded and released onto DVD, way back in the old age of 2005, but it’s quite difficult to find a copy as I believe that they’re out of print.
I see no better reason as to why La Nouba: Filmed Live at Walt Disney World shouldn’t be available on Disney+ and is there really anything close to a Cirque du Soleil show on there right now?
6. Peter and the Starcatcher
Based upon the 2004 novel of
the same a similiar* name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher is a prequel to Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M Barrie, and it provides an origin story for several Peter Pan characters including Captain Hook, Tinker Bell, and of course, Peter Pan.
This “play with music” was a surprisingly huge hit in the United States when it premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2009. It’s success went even further when it made it to Broadway in 2012, winning 5 of its 9 Tony Award nominations, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for fan-favourite actor, Christian Borle.
It’s huge success seemed to abruptly come to an end once it completed its US Tour and it hasn’t been performed on a professional scale since 2015, though it lives on through licensed productions.
Peter Pan is still a lucrative property for Disney and it remains hugely popular with audiences. Disney have their own Disney Fairies franchise headed by Tinker Bell, a new Neverland themed area is currently under construction at Tokyo DisneySea, and a Peter Pan and Wendy movie is coming to Disney+ in the near-future, so why not capitalize on that by adding Peter and the Starcatcher?
*the original novel is titled “Peter and the Starcatchers“
7. Mary Poppins
The Mary Poppins musical has an interesting backstory and part of it includes the fact that it wasn’t originally envisioned to be the “Disney musical” as we know it. Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the show, met with Poppins author, P.L. Travers in 1993 and bought the stage rights to her books, with the condition that all the creatives were English, and that they had no involvement of the 1964 film.
It wouldn’t be another eight years until Disney was brought on board due to Mackintosh’s wish to use the famous Disney songs, which was a nice loophole since Travers didn’t specifically say that no pre-existing songs couldn’t be used.
Mary Poppins opened in Bristol before moving to London in 200 becoming the first English-language Disney show to premiere outside of the US. Since then, it has been performed across the globe and is one of Disney’s most successful shows alongside Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
Disney may be put-off producing a recording for Disney+ since they still have a major London revival on the way, but considering that it’s been pushed back several times due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they should give the cast a chance to perform in front of the camera’s, much like their upcoming Aladdin recording.
There’s not much I can say about Hercules because it’s such a recent production that it’s only played one extremely limited, but extremely popular, engagement at the Delacorte Theater in New York’s Central Park, in August 2019.
While a Broadway version is confirmed to be in development, it has been said that it will be new version, and since it’ll be different, why not preserve Hercules‘ theatre history by adding the Delacorte version to Disney+?
9. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge has been screaming for a stage-adaptation for years and finally in 2008 we got our wish with La Belle Bizarre du Moulin Rouge, which toured Germany, produced a cast album, and has since been forgotten.
The idea of a Moulin Rouge musical has since been revived with a Boston try-out opening in 2018 which has since moved to Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
The musical follows the same plot of the film, a composer named Christian falls in love with cabaret star, Satine. The movie is famous for its glitz, glamour, and incredible catalogue of popular songs, which are mostly blended together to create amazing mashups. The musical takes this concept and excels it with even more songs and an even greater spectacle.
As you may know, I’m a big supporter of “adult” content being added to Disney+, and finally living in the UK is paying off because it’s one of the countries that is getting that wish on February 23rd. So, there’s no perfect time for the new stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge to be added. It could be on Disney+ as a “Star Original” and a Hulu Original in the US.
While the movie is now a Disney property thanks to the Fox purchase, releasing a stage recording of the show may prove an issue due to the songs. Music licensing can be a tricky thing, for example, it’s one of the (possible) reasons why The Muppet Show (1976-1981) isn’t available on Disney+. *
Even still, it’s nice to dream…
* Since the publishing of this article, it has been announced that The Muppet Show will be available to stream on Disney+ from February 19th, 2021!
When I made the first list, Anastasia was there but it was the first one I removed and replaced with another show – what a mistake that turned out to be because many people mentioned that it was missing.
Based upon the 1997 film, which is in turn based upon the now debunked legend of Princess Anastasia’s surviving her 1918 execution. The animated film is famous not just for being a fantastic movie, but for the misconception that Princess Anastasia is a Disney Princess – only since the 2019 purchase of Fox by Disney, she technically is one now.
The musical opened on Broadway on April 24th 2017 and was a modest success, earning two Tony Award nominations in the process. Since its closing on March 31st 2019, it has seen productions in Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, and Japan, with more confirmed to come in the future – including a UK production.
Anastasia would likely not only be a success on Disney+ but a cinema release might also prove popular since it has only been performed in six countries.
Special Mention: The Disney Parks & Cruise Line Shows
Come on Disney. The Disney Parks and Cruise Line shows are all on Youtube, so why not just give us some decent pro-shot’s and put them on your streaming service – even the closed shows would be fantastic.
That’s my list of 10 MORE Shows Disney Should Add to Disney+. Did I miss any of your favourites (again), if so, don’t be afraid to leave a comment below to tell us!