Now that Broadway is close to reopening, Disney has announced a brand new musical based on A. A. Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh stories will be joining the growing list of Disney stage musicals.
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation will be opening on October 21, 2021 at Time Square’s Theatre Row. The production is developed by Jonathan Rockefeller, who has experience working on several children’s theatre productions with a specific concentration in puppetry. Rockefeller had this to say in regard to the upcoming show:
“Disney’s Winnie the Pooh material is so incredibly rich, that after more than half a century, I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t been profoundly moved or feels a personal connection with the wonderful characters of Pooh. The question we posed ourselves when creating this intimate musical adaptation was, ‘How do we bring Pooh from the screen and onto the stage in an entirely fresh and new way, yet one that still pays homage to the deep canon of Winnie the Pooh iconography?’ The answer was easy… well, conceptually easy, in theory… we needed to create incredible, brilliant, and amazing puppetry that makes it impossible to believe the characters aren’t real. Audiences can expect their hearts will be captivated by the characters, and their imaginations will soar with these life-size puppets.”
At this point, it is unclear which stories are being adapted to the stage. However, we do know that the classic Sherman Brothers songs will be included, with new songs by A. A. Milne. This likely means that these lyrics will be made up of previously written material, put to tune by the music from the Sherman Brothers or music from an as-of-yet unannounced composer.
This will not be the first time the Winnie the Pooh property has been adapted for the stage. A musical version of the film for young performers, titled Winnie the Pooh KIDS, has already been available from Disney Theatrical Licensing. This show features the original songs from the 2011 movie and is intended for local schools and community theatres to produce.
For a history of The Walt Disney Company’s involvement with the Winnie the Pooh stories, click here.