Disney Theatricals has signed a director and scenic designer for the long-awaited “Little Mermaid.”
Helmer Francesca Zambello and George Tsypin are in charge of transferring the 1989 animated feature to the stage. It will mark Zambello’s first Broadway credit and only the second for Tsypin, who designed sets for Lincoln Center Theater’s 1993 revival of Jane Bowles’ “In the Summer House.” He is represented this season at the Metropolitan Opera with the Julie Taymor production of “The Magic Flute,” which opened in October.
As with Taymor’s production of “The Lion King,” Disney Theatricals has gone outside the Broadway pool of talent for “Little Mermaid.” In fact, Zambello’s only recent helming credit for a musical was the 2003-04 production of “West Side Story,” with sets by Tsypin, at the Bregenz Festival.
Curiously, she has directed for Disney before, having staged the current “Aladdin” show at its theme parks. In Gotham, she most recently helmed the Met’s 2003 production of “Les Troyens.”
Disney Theatricals’ Thomas Schumacher confirmed the signings of Zambello and Tsypin, but would not go into detail on the “Little Mermaid” production.
High and dry
“It’s not an aquatic show. There won’t be any swimming,” said the prexy, despite the presence of mermaids and various fish. “We didn’t have animals walking on all fours in ‘The Lion King,'” he explained.
Schumacher said Disney Theatricals did not have a timetable for when the production would reach Broadway.
Matthew Bourne had been the original director for “The Little Mermaid.” He and Schumacher parted ways on the project, but they signed on for another: “Mary Poppins,” currently in performance in the U.K., with Bourne doing co-choreographer and co-director chores. His collaborators there are, respectively, Stephen Mear and Richard Eyre. Disney is co-producing the tuner with Cameron Mackintosh.
Schumacher said composer Alan Menken had written 10 songs for the “Little Mermaid” stage show. The movie score featured only five.