Disney Theatrical Developing ‘The Princess Bride’ for the Stage

The Princess Bride Broadway

New project is unrelated to the prior attempt to turn the property into a musical

Disney Theatrical Prods. has embarked on a stage adaptation of “The Princess Bride” in a deal shepherded by Alan Horn.

With no creative team yet attached, it’s not yet been decided whether the developing show will be a play or a musical. Either way the production will be entirely unrelated to the prior attempt to turn the property into a musical, which was scuttled in 2007 due to a rights disagreement between composer Adam Guettel (“The Light in the Piazza”) and book writer William Goldman, who wrote both the original 1973 novel and the screenplay for the 1987 movie version.

Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has ties to “Princess Bride” through his tenure at Castle Rock (a division of Warner Bros., which Horn also has led).

The property, a comic fantasy-romance that generated the now-iconic film adaptation, has long seemed a natural candidate for a large-scale stage version, given its highly recognizable title and a fanciful storyline that would seemingly accommodate musical numbers without much friction. The Castle Rock pic was directed by Rob Reiner, helming a cast that included Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal and Carole Kane, among others; Norman Lear was on board as an exec producer.

No production timeline has yet been set for the legit adaptation from Disney Theatrical (“The Lion King,” “Newsies”), led by producer Thomas Schumacher. Title is just one of the shows in varying stages of development at the Mouse House’s stage division, including “Shakespeare in Love,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Dumbo” and “Freaky Friday.” The company’s tuner version of “Aladdin” recently began its out-of-town tryout run in Toronto prior to a berth on Broadway in the spring.

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  1. Tim Waters says:

    There is a stage version. it’s call A Precess Bride – It has been done in Canada a few times. Pretty funny, and it has elves as well! Lots of action….

  2. Kelly Fryer says:

    hello I’m Kelly and I just want to say that high school is planning on doing “The Princess Bride” as a play. I myself, watched the movie countless time and with the little stage we have, placed each and every little scene on where it would flow best. I also worked on a script that we got from offline, (it looked like the script for a camera person), and I cleaned it up and made if functional (it was over 150 pages long and I shrunk it down to about 81 pages and lower), I don’t know is this would help anyone, like the Disney people who are looking for a creative team but I just wanted to say that it is possible for it to be done on stage. (we changed a few of the lines being it’s a Christian school, and we also had to change a few scenes because we don’t have the resources to do it e.g. lightning sand) thanks for taking the time to read this (if you actually do) but I am hoping and praying this will be the best play ever

    • Clark J. Van Hekken says:

      I would think your teachers would know that no one can just do a play the way you have done. The “Rights” belong to the original author (William Goldman) and to perform your show you would have needed to get his permission and pay for those Rights. I’d written to him a few years ago with the same idea and never heard back from him. Not sure if my letter gave him the idea to take it to Broadway but happy it is getting done.

  3. Stacey Evans says:

    Please keep the multifaceted elements of the movie; suspenseful and lighthearted, sophomoric humor with dry wit, romance, friendship and family love. One of my favorite movies!

  4. Avis Baas says:

    It would be great to see Billy Crystal and Carole Kane recreate their roles in the stage version. ;Noboby does it better.

  5. LOUIS LACQUER says:

    STAY TRUE TO THE STORY… IT IS A CLASSIC DON’T WRECK IT!! Yes British accent for Wesley. pretty princess, GREAT SWORD PLAY (more of a persue than study..not much money in revenge)..GIANT…and of course the word…INCONCEIVABLE

  6. Jennifer Wick says:

    OH please, not a musical!! And please use a London Accent for Wiesel, this is a must for most women you have to know that. Love to see more of the book and narration from the writer in the play, the jokes from the narration were some of the best. Love the book even more than the movie, that is saying something as I have watched movie since I was 12. Please if you have to have a song keep it at the beginning or end. Would like to see Indigo and Fezik (sorry spelling ?) in the Labyrinth looking for the man in black. More of the opening from the book between Buttercup and Wiesel. The heartbreak was more clear in the book because you can more actions of love between them ,before they were torn apart. Maybe this is asking to much I don’t know time constraints of plays. I certainly hope that a play can be made, I would be there in a heartbeat. Best of Luck to all those involved in this en diver.

  7. Hans Dieter Ulrich says:

    Excellent news. Disney will do a great job. Norman Lear produced the film, not Castle Rock. Horn has ties to Rob Reiner, but not the movie.

  8. Rick says:

    If you should do this and it does not run for years, then you will be pursued forever by the Black Pirate Roberts and the master swordsman Montaga until you finally meet to prepare to die. Disney, you just don’t mess with classics and you never had the guts to bring back Uncle Remus, and how my grandchildren love him dearly. Do not mess with Buttercup or Wesley. Your stock will never recover for it will be mostly dead.

  9. mkm says:

    YEESSS PLS!!!!! tough call nothing will ever be the same of course as the original perfect cast, but just as Lion King has become a huge BW smash, so could APB,keeping its legacy/storyline alive for these newer generations. movies & shows can exist independently if both are done well and can stand on their own. see the positive & constructive comments of others below. It could easily be a musical, but def would nd someone of reknown to do so bc will stretch some ppl’s credulity. pls BC & CK come back!!! they wore so much makeup/costume anyway it doesnt matter if they look any older now. and i think Mandy Patankin could still do some part of it even a slightly older Inigo they never gave his age so who’s to say he cant be a bit older? i would pay ANYTHING to hear him utter THE words in Person!!!!!
    now get a move on Disney, I’m dying of cancer & i want to take my fam to see this before i die!!! ps RIP Andre…

  10. falstaff36 says:

    Oh for the love of god…..PLEASE leave it alone…..Don’t sully the memory of a magnificent piece of filmic art by doing some schlocky stage version of it…..PLEASE

  11. Rick Lincoln says:

    DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. CC says:

    please not a musical D8
    this is my favorite movie/book of all time and a musical just doesn’t fit

  13. Brute Squad member says:

    Please make it a Play & Not a musical.

  14. Maya Michael says:

    Jesse McCartney for Wesley

  15. Grannie Cool says:

    DO. NOT. DO. THIS.

  16. Kate says:

    I hope they do a great job. I remember doing a stage version in high school and it was so much fun. And with the budget it’ll be great. Remember a lot of people were scoffing when they said they were doing the Lion King on stage, everyone thinking it wouldn’t work. But just like the Lion King, Princess Bride is a great storyline with a great movie under it belt. And like the Lion King it was great because it had heart. That’s how Princess Bride is still popular; because it had heart, the dialogue and themes were great, so even when the special effects, sets or props showed the movies age, people didn’t see it because the rest out shined that.
    The stage version will be different than the film because it’s a different medium, film has a certain magic and stage has a different type. For people to think they’re gonna keep it exactly the same is foolish. I hope it does stay 90% the same though. And I would love to see how they incorporate the grandad and the grandson on the stage.
    Anyway, I’m just excited for this :D

  17. Don’t change too many things to fit in or be commercial. Keep the humor clean…keep it true to form..and keep the characters pure. Cast based on type and not talent. I don’t expect anyone to be over the top with singing..it is all about the interaction between them. chemistry is everything.

    • Clark J. Van Hekken says:

      I find it hard to believe anyone would want the cast picked solely on “type” and “not talent”… in other words if someone looked exactly like the original movie actor but couldn’t act his way out of a paperbag, you would choose him over someone who could deliver the lines and do the stunts (like sword fighting) as they were done in the original movie.

    • LOUIS LACQUER says:

      yeah yeah yeah what you said thumbs up

  18. Katie Kerr says:

    Don’t stray from the original. Keep the script the same. Don’t try and go new age. Keep the original material.

  19. Samantha says:

    If you would like for this production to be successful, then you will need me to play Buttercup! Just sayin. Tryin to save you all the hassle and bother of a long drawn out audition process. ;P

  20. Andrew says:

    I have actually directed an unsanctioned stage adaptation of the PB. We used smokeless gun powder for the flame spurts. A little unreliable but with more money and time it would have been great, still worked beutifully 90% of the time. We used and actuall rat costume but put the fire swamp as a night time scene so the flames look better and did i kind of strobe thing for the ROUS fight. It actually looked really good. You don’t need a giant, just someone who is bigger than the rest of the cast. Email me if any one reads this who has questions.

  21. Laura A. says:

    Don’t make it a musical, please. Give William Goldman a voice. Keep it like the book/movie.

  22. Rose says:

    I wouldn’t recommend making it a musical. There’s enough material in there, and unless you have got a Stephen Schwartz or Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber level of music writer, its only going to be an unwanted distraction (esp. since the original film wasn’t a musical). Also, William Goldman is still alive, so if your looking for a good playwright for it, he’d probably be the best choice (since he did write the original novel and the screenplay for the movie)

  23. David says:

    Re-make it as the satirical romantic comedy it was intended to be . . . Also, try to get Billy Crystal and Carol Kane to replay the parts of Miracle Max and Valerie respectively. The rest of the cast would likely need to start from scratch, although it would be interesting to see if Fred Savage could pull off the part of Inigo Montoya.

  24. I think Princess Bride would make an amazing musical with all the Disney Magic and that powerful story line. So many scenes would easily lend themselves to break out in song. This movie in one of my all time favorites. They will have to keep all of the recognizable lines though and I am sure they could add some more classics too!

  25. See ChristianFantasy.com for unique insight into the themes in A Princess Bride. If I were writing the lyrics (clearly wanting a musical here) I would create a song at each point this writer makes. To contact him see webmaster@christianfantasy.com. Of course, there are other highlights that would translate perfectly into a rousing musical. There is no need to lace it with any kind of religiosity or point out the parallels…they are inherent, and only become clear when pointed out to those who ‘get it.’ It should stay full of fun. This author just adroitly clarifies where your emotional climaxes are…so necessary for a musical to pop.

  26. Dante La Rocca says:

    Have the R.O.U.S. off stage. That fat rat will just look cheesy onstage.

  27. Lisa Sink says:

    have long thought this would make a great, albeit ambitious, play. i even mentioned this as part of a wish list to the directors of our local theater. do not, do not, do not, make this a musical!!!! just say no!!!!

  28. Sandi Rust says:

    please, don’t make it a musica.. for the stage production, having the grandad and kid at far stage right when the parts come up and keep the set as simple as possible, I would suggest using SCAdians for the rapier scenes, possibly with some wirework.

  29. Michele says:

    It better be true to the FILM. Making it a musical may prove risky and casting would be a nightmare.
    PB fans are a loyal lot.

  30. Jenee says:

    All the talent at Disney and there are just no original ideas? None? Please don’t.

  31. Where can you apply to be a writer on this project? I’ve been playing around with lyrics to a possible musical adaptation for this amazing book for years!

  32. madison Buske says:

    Don’t turn it into a musical and try to have a real giant that is all.

  33. Lisa Newton says:

    Don’t mess with the dialogue. It is perfect. Don’t weaken the characters, or ‘fix’ them. They are perfect. Carry on.

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