Disney’s Musical Theatre in Animation, Stage, and Live-Action: A Song Guide

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Introduction

The musical history of Disneyena is a rich one. Throughout the past almost 100 years, the Disney name has used music as one of the primary vessels of their magic. Of course, this began with the early synchronized sound cartoons like Steamboat Willie and over time evolved into animated musical masterpieces, such as were common during the Disney Renassaince. During that time, audiences were awestruck when they saw these Broadway-style, musically rich films within the realm of animation.

In the past 10 years, live-action remakes of these animated classics have regularly been making their way to the big screen. In many of these cases, this wasn’t the first time that Disney had revisited these properties. In 1994, Disney launched their first Broadway production, based on their 1991 hit film Beauty and the Beast. For the film, composer Alan Menken collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice to write new songs to fit within the story. More than 20 years later, Menken and Rice got together yet again and wrote additional songs for the live-action remake. This is a curious phenomenon, but one that has happened at least three times already: original songs are written for an animated film, new songs are written for a stage version, and then those songs are discarded and new songs are written again for the live-action remake. This can be confusing, to put it mildly. Though many of us remember the songs in the original animated films, it is easy to forget where and when those other songs appear. This is where this document intends to help.

The purpose of this document is twofold. Firstly, I have compiled it in the hope that educators, actors, singers, and theatre practitioners can refer to it as a valuable resource when putting on a production or preparing a performance. Secondly, I hope that this will be extraordinarily helpful to those tracing the history of these famous properties or The Walt Disney Company as a whole. To be clear, this document highlights the differences in musical numbers across three incarnations of the same project, while also tracing the history and development of the respective mediums throughout the years. It also is an attempt to place the songs in chronological order where they appear in the story. Sometimes this isn’t perfectly accurate, such as in the case of deleted songs, or when story beats have shifted so dramatically during writing that the song no longer makes sense. I have includes most reprises, when they officially qualify as musical numbers either on a recording or on the official song breakdown list from Music Theatre International (MTI).

Lastly, this is an acknowledgment of Alan Menken and his collaborators. It is quite astonishing to see the vast amount of content that Alan Menken has written for The Walt Disney Company over the years, both on stage and on screen and even, occasionally, for the parks. All five of the musicals included here were composed by Menken, and for all five, he has returned to his project at least once to adapt it for a different medium, whether onstage or for a live-action remake. And through it all, he has not sacrificed quality. This is an admirable feat, and it has not gone unnoticed. For those who want to take a deeper dive into Menken, Ashman, and Rice’s work on Mermaid, Beauty, and Aladdin, I highly recommend seeking out the now out of print collection titled The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice.

For (almost) each song, I have included links to recordings. Whenever possible, I have attempted to use the official studio recordings. However, for various reasons, this isn’t always possible. In those cases, I have tried to provide the best samples I could find of high-quality productions that were captured on video or audio. I have used a variety of sources to compile the lists of musical numbers, all of which are cited at the end of the document.

The musicals below appear chronologically based on the date of the animated films.

The Little Mermaid

On November 17, 1989, an animated movie called The Little Mermaid was released in theaters and changed Disney forever. Not only was the film a huge success, but it also changed the direction that Disney would go for the next decade. During these years, the studio harkened back to the storytelling of old, adapting the formula slightly to follow the format of the Broadway musical. The Little Mermaid began this trend and is usually credited for kicking off what is often called the Disney Renassaince.

Following several other successes on Broadway, Disney opened The Little Mermaid on the Broadway stage in early 2008, almost 20 years after the original film. Starring Sierra Boggess as Ariel, the production featured the original music from the film as well as newly written songs by Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. Unfortunately, the production was not a success and closed after only 685 performances. It has since been revised and is available for licensing to regional and community theatres.

A live-action remake of the animated film is currently in post-production and will likely arrive in theaters in 2022 or 2023. Directed by Rob Marshall, the film will feature four newly written songs by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Song List:Animated FilmStage MusicalLive-Action Remake
The World AboveN/AWritten for stageTBD
Fathoms BelowWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Daughters of TritonWritten for filmAppearsTBD
If Only (Triton’s Lament)N/AWritten for stage, replaced “The World Above (Reprise)”TBD
Human StuffN/AWritten for stage, later deleted from scoreTBD
I Want the Good Times BackN/AWritten for stage, later deleted from score and replaced with “Daddy’s Little Angel”TBD
Daddy’s Little AngelN/AWritten for stage, replaced “I Want the Good Times Back”TBD
Part of Your WorldWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Storm at SeaN/AWritten for stageTBD
Part of Your World (Reprise)Written for filmAppearsTBD
She’s in LoveN/AWritten for stageTBD
Her VoiceN/AWritten for stageTBD
The World Above (Reprise)N/AWritten for stage, later deleted from score and replaced with “If Only (Triton’s Lament)”TBD
Under the SeaWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Under the Sea (Reprise)N/AWritten for stage, later deleted from scoreTBD
If Only (Ariel’s Lament)N/AWritten for stage TBD
Sweet ChildN/AWritten for stageTBD
Silence is GoldenWritten for film; deletedAbsentTBD
Poor Unfortunate SoulsWritten for filmAppearsTBD
PositoovityN/AWritten for stageTBD
Beyond My Wildest DreamsN/AWritten for stageTBD
Les PoissonsWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Les Poissons (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
One Step CloserN/AWritten for stageTBD
I Want the Good Times Back (Reprise)N/AWritten for stage, later deleted from score and replaced with “Daddy’s Little Angel (Reprise)”TBD
Daddy’s Little Angel (Reprise)N/AWritten for stage, replaced “I Want the Good Times Back (Reprise)”TBD
Kiss the GirlWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Sweet Child (Reprise)N/AWritten for stage, later deleted from scoreTBD
If Only (Quartet)N/AWritten for stageTBD
The ContestN/AWritten for stageTBD
Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)Written for filmAppearsTBD
If Only (reprise)N/aWritten for stage, later deleted from scoreTBD
Happy Ending/FinaleWritten for filmAlternate version appearsTBD

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was the second and final Disney musical completed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The film opened in 1991 to rave reviews, with critics praising the animation along with its original music.

In 1993, then CEO Michael Eisner made a business move that has changed musical theatre since. He decided to open a division of Disney called Disney Theatrical Productions. His plan was mutually beneficial both for the world of New York and Broadway and also for Disney itself. Inspired by the success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney decided to adapt the film for the stage. By restoring the New Amsterdam Theatre, which had been the home of the original Ziegfeld Follies, Disney created the corporate musical. Beauty and the Beast was the first of many stage productions to be developed by The Walt Disney Company.

In March of 2017, a live-action remake was released by Disney featuring a star-studded cast, the original Ashman/Menken songs, newly written songs, and an expanded plot. A prequel series based on this film is currently in development for Disney+. Tentatively titled Little Town, the series will star Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou, reprising their roles from the film. It will be a six-episode musical event, with newly written songs from Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.

Song List:AnimatedStageLive-Action
PrologueWritten for filmAppearsAltered version appears:
Part 1 and Part 2
AriaN/AN/AWritten for film
BelleWritten for 1991 filmAppearsAppears
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box)N/AN/AWritten for film
No Matter WhatN/AWritten for stageAbsent
No Matter What (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageAbsent
MeN/AWritten for stageAbsent
Belle (Reprise)Written for filmAppearsAppears
HomeN/AWritten for stageAppears as underscore
Home (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageAbsent
GastonWritten for filmAppearsAppears, with previously deleted lyrics by Ashman
Gaston (Reprise)Written for filmAppearsAbsent
How Long Must This Go On?N/AWritten for stageAbsent
Be Our GuestWritten for filmAppearsAppears
If I Can’t Love HerN/AWritten for stageAbsent
Days in the SunN/AN/AWritten for film: Final and alternate
Something ThereWritten for filmAppearsAppears
Human AgainWritten for film, deleted, and then reinstated for 2002 releaseAppearsAbsent
How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montmartre)N/AN/AWritten for film
Maison Des LunesN/AWritten for stageAbsent
Beauty and the BeastWritten for filmAppearsAppears
If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageAbsent
EvermoreN/AN/AWritten for film
A Change in MeN/AWritten for 1998 stage productionAllusion to song occurs in “Days in the Sun”
The Mob SongWritten for filmAppearsAppears
End Duet/TransformationN/AWritten for stageAbsent
Beauty and the Beast (Finale)AppearsAppearsAltered version appears

Aladdin

Aladdin is arguably the most complicated entry on this document. Lyricist Howard Ashman sadly passed away during production on the film and, as a result, lyricist Tim Rice was hired to work with Menken to write new songs. With a restructured story, many of the songs written by Ashman and Menken had to be cut, and only three of their songs ended up in the final film. However, the stage musical attempted to recover some of these long-lost songs, with mixed success. Many were placed back into the score and then cut out again, as detailed in the grid below. New songs were also written for the stage show by Alan Menken and Chad Beguelin, replacing Tim Rice as lyricist.

The stage musical originally premiered in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Following the Seattle production and a short tryout in Toronto, Aladdin officially opened on Broadway in 2014. The cast included Adam Jacobs as Aladdin, James Monroe Iglehart as Genie, and Courtney Reed as Jasmine. Iglehart would go on to win a Tony Award for his role.

A resource that I found particularly helpful in compiling the musical numbers for Aladdin was the Aladdin Musical Blog. Since the original production, the author has painstakingly traced the history and development of this stage adaptation and all of his work is online for anybody to enjoy. He recently put together a video celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the original 5th Avenue Theatre production which features several members of the cast. I highly recommend checking it out here.

The live-action remake of Aladdin was released in 2019. Starring Will Smith as the Genie, the film featured songs by Alan Menken, with new lyrics from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A sequel and a spin-off for Disney+ are both in development.

Song List:AnimatedStageLive-Action
Arabian NightsWritten for film; original version contained an offensive lyric which was quickly rewritten by Rice. Otherwise, the song remains unchangedAppearsAppears
One Jump AheadWritten for filmAppearsAppears
One Jump Ahead (Reprise)Written for filmAppearsAppears
Proud of Your BoyWritten for film, deletedAppearsAbsent
Count on MeWritten for film, deletedAbsentAbsent
Arabian Nights Reprise 1Written for film, deletedAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Call Me a PrincessWritten for film, deletedAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Call Me a Princess (Reprise)N/AWritten for early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Why MeWritten for film, deletedAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
These Palace WallsN/AWritten for the stageAbsent
Speechless (Part 1)N/AN/AWritten for film
Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, KassimWritten for film, deletedAppearsAbsent
A Million Miles AwayN/AWritten for the stageAbsent
Arabian Nights, Reprise 2Written for film, deletedAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Diamond in the RoughN/AWritten for the stageAbsent
Desert MoonN/AN/AWritten for film, deleted
Friend Like MeWritten for filmAppearsAppears
Act One Finale (Friend Like Me (Reprise)/Proud of Your Boy (Reprise I))N/AWritten for the stageAbsent
How Quick They ForgetWritten for film, deletedAbsentAbsent
Prince AliWritten for filmAppearsAppears
To Be FreeMusic written for film; Menken notes that he would have liked a song here for the GenieReworked version appeared in early stage version, deleted before BroadwayAbsent
Arabian Nights Reprise 3Written for film, deletedAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
A Whole New WorldWritten for filmAppearsAppears
High AdventureWritten for film, deletedAppearsAbsent
Somebody’s Got Your BackN/AWritten for the stageAbsent
Proud of Your Boy (Reprise II)N/AWritten for the stageAbsent
One Jump Ahead (Reprise 2)N/AN/AWritten for film
High Adventure (Reprise)N/AWritten for early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Prince Ali (Sultan Reprise)N/AWritten for the stageAbsent
Speechless (Part 2)N/AN/AWritten for film
Humiliate the BoyWritten for film, deletedAbsentAbsent
My Time Has ComeWritten for film, deletedAbsentAbsent
My Finest HourWritten for film, deletedAbsentAbsent
Prince Ali (Jafar Reprise)Written for filmAppearsAbsent
Genie’s Exit (Somebody’s Got Your Back Reprise)N/AAppeared in early stage version, cut before BroadwayAbsent
Finale Ultimo (Arabian Nights (Reprise)/A Whole New World (Reprise)Written for film; Arabian Nights (Reprise) deletedAppearsAbsent

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunchback is unlike any other property on this list, for a few reasons. Firstly, this is the only one that didn’t get a Broadway run (the jury is still out for Hercules). When (thea English-language version) was first produced, it was done at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2014. It later transferred to the Paper Mill Playhouse, and it was this version that received a cast recording. However, this wasn’t the first time the 1996 Disney film had been adapted for the stage. In the late 90s, a German-language version was released in Berlin under the title Der Glöckner von Notre Dame. With original and new songs by Alan Menken and in association with Disney, this version went on to become one of the most popular musicals in Germany. For this document, I am focusing merely on the English-language versions. For those who want to sample Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, a cast recording is available.

A resource that I found particularly helpful in compiling the musical numbers for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and development of the stage production can is https://enseeseven-blog.tumblr.com/.

A live-action remake of the animated film is in development at Disney. It seems that Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz would return to work on the music, while the script reportedly will be written by Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang. Josh Gad would produce the project and possibly star as Quasimodo as well. In a Tweet from early this year, Gad hinted that the film is getting closer and closer.

Song List:AnimatedStage Live-Action
The Bells of Notre DameWritten for filmAltered version appearsTBD
Sanctuary/Out ThereWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Topsy TurvyWritten for filmAppears: Part One and Part TwoTBD
Rest and RecreationN/AWritten for stageTBD
Rhythm of the TambourineN/AWritten for stageTBD
Sanctuary II/The Bells of Notre Dame (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
God Help the OutcastsWritten for filmAppearsTBD
In My LifeN/AWritten for early stage version, cutTBD
Top of the WorldN/AWritten for stageTBD
Tavern Song (Thai Mol Piyas)N/AWritten for stageTBD
Heaven’s LightWritten for filmAppearsTBD
HellfireWritten for filmAppearsTBD
EsmeraldaN/AWritten for stageTBD
A Guy Like YouWritten for filmAbsentTBD
Flight Into EgyptN/AWritten for stageTBD
Esmeralda (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
Rest and Recreation (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
The Court of MiraclesWritten for filmAppearsTBD
In a Place of MiraclesWritten for film, deletedAppearsTBD
As Long As There’s a MoonWritten for film, deletedAbsentTBD
The Bells of Notre Dame (Reprise II)/ Justice in ParisN/AWritten for stageTBD
SomedayWritten for film, deletedAppearsTBD
While the City SlumberedN/AWritten for stageTBD
Made of StoneN/AWritten for stageTBD
Top of the World (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
Esmeralda (Frollo Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
The Bells of Notre Dame (Reprise)/ Finale UltimoReprise written for filmUpdated finale written for stage; encompasses several songsTBD

Hercules

A stage adaptation premiered at the Public Theatre in 2019. There is a disappointing lack of footage available from the production and as of July 2021, is the only production of the musical. No official cast recording has been released (as far as I know, there wasn’t one recorded), and videos regarding the production are few and far between. Consequently, this means that many of the newly written songs remain unavailable to hear at this time. This will likely change in the future, however, as Alan Menken is continuing to develop this project with Disney Theatricals. Look out for changes to this grid in the future.

In 2020, we revealed that a live-action Hercules remake was in the works. The Hollywood Reporter later confirmed our report and also revealed that the Russo brothers, of the MCU, would be producing this film. The script will be written by Dave Callaham, writer of the upcoming Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The Russo brothers have said that “music will certainly be a part of it”.

Song List:AnimatedStageLive-Action
The Gospel TruthWritten for filmAppearsTBD
The Gospel Truth (Reprise-“He Ran the Underworld”)Written for filmAppearsTBD
The ProphecyN/AWritten for stageTBD
The Gospel Truth (Reprise-“Hades Was Not Amused”)N/AWritten for stageTBD
The Gospel Truth (Reprise-“Young Herc Was Mortal Now”)Written for filmAppearsTBD
Uniquely Greek Town SquareN/AWritten for stageTBD
Go the DistanceWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Go the Distance (Reprise)Written for filmAppears later in stage versionTBD
One Last HopeWritten for filmAppearsTBD
The Gospel Truth (Reprise- “Young Herc Was On His Way”)N/AWritten for stageTBD
Forget About ItN/AWritten for stageTBD
A Cool Day in HellN/AWritten for stageTBD
Uniquely Greek Tough TownN/AWritten for stageTBD
Zero to HeroWritten for filmAppearsTBD
A Cool Day In Hell (Reprise)N/AWritten for stageTBD
Shooting StarWritten for film, deletedAppearsTBD
One Last Hope (Reprise)/Go the Distance (Reprise)Go the Distance (Reprise) written for filmOne Last Hope (Reprise) written for stageTBD
The Gospel Truth (Reprise- “Herc Jumped the Garden Wall”)N/AWritten for stageTBD
I Can’t Believe my HeartWritten for film, deletedAbsentTBD
I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)Written for filmAppearsTBD
Great Bolts Of ThunderN/AWritten for stageTBD
To Be HumanN/AWritten for stageTBD
A Star Is BornWritten for filmAppearsTBD
Go the Distance (Finale)N/AAppearsTBD

Sources:

This is a working document and will be regularly updated as the live-action remakes are released and if the stage adaptations are revised. In the meantime, if anyone has any corrections or errors to report, please send me a note at josh@thedisinsider.com

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email

Leave a Reply

READ NEXT