Disney’s Broadway lineup will get shaken up this spring, with “Mary Poppins” said to be shuttering in March — to be replaced, word has it, with the tuner adaptation of “Aladdin.”
“Poppins” has not attained the kind of consistent big-money sales of mega-hit “The Lion King,” but despite weekly sales that have in recent years fluctuated notably — in keeping with the comings and goings of the all-ages tourist auds that fuel the show’s B.O. — “Poppins” has been a solidly profitable Main Stem title for Disney Theatrical. The musical proved the longest-running and most commercially successful alum of the 2006-07 season, and summer frames and holiday weeks are still boffo periods for the tuner. Last week the production, elevated by the tail end of the annual Yuletide sale spike, grossed $1.03 million.
Details were scarce on “Aladdin” — no timeline or production details have yet been confirmed — but it’s said the tuner will make its way into the New Amsterdam Theater in the months after “Poppins” shutters. The musical version of the 1992 animated pic bowed in a two-act stage adaptation that preemed in Seattle in 2011.
Like “Newsies,” “Aladdin” was initially developed by Disney Theatrical as fodder to the regional theaters clamoring for a full-length stage version of a familiar movie title. And as in the case of “Newsies,” Disney was encouraged to consider the title for Broadway in the wake of strong response from the out-of-town bow.
It’s not yet certain who among the Seattle creative team will return for “Aladdin,” which was helmed at the 5th Avenue Theater by Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”). Chad Beguelin penned the book and additional lyrics for the show, which incorporates the movie tunes by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, along with new music composed by Menken.
Although its week-to-week revenue was less consistent than those of “Lion King,” “Poppins” ranked high, both in terms of B.O. and attendance, every year it was on the boards. The show has logged cumulative Broadway sales of almost $290 million, and is poised to cross the $300 million mark by the time it closes.
Based on the P.L. Travers book and the well-known Disney pic it inspired, “Poppins” initially bowed in London prior to its Rialto stint. Show is currently also on the boards in a North American tour and in Mexico City.
Richard Eyre directs a book by Julian Fellowes, with new music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewer joining the familiar movie songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Produced by Disney Theatrical and Cameron Mackintosh (“Les Miserables”), “Poppins,” it’s said, will close in early early March.
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