Disney plans to take its “On the Record” off the road this summer.
The songbook tuner, which uses extant tunes from Disney movies, will end its tour July 31 at Denver’s Buell Theater.
Disney Theatricals prexy Thomas Schumacher informed the cast Tuesday night at D.C.’s National Theater, where the show is running.
“On the Record” opened Nov. 9 at the Palace Theater in Cleveland. Since then, it has received downbeat reviews in most cities it has played.
In his review from Chicago, Daily Variety‘s Chris Jones wrote, ” ‘On the Record’ needs a lot more bodies than the eight currently onstage and a fresher, funnier, riskier and more accessible concept than is on display.” He went on to describe the project as “polished but strangely schizophrenic.”
Set in a recording studio, the musical features such diverse Disney classics as “Pink Elephants on Parade” and “Be Our Guest.” Robert Longbottom directed, choreographed and co-conceived the show.
Schumacher told Daily Variety that the show “captured the people who love the Disney catalog, but once we got into a market, (business) didn’t expand from there. We don’t get walk-up business.”
However, he said the show is not losing money. “There is no reason to stop it today,” he said, pointing to the late-July shutter date. “All of these theaters need nine to 12 months to announce a season.”
Schumacher said Asian and European partners would be seeing the show soon. “There is potential around the world,” he said.
Together with Cameron Mackintosh, Schumacher recently opened the stage version of “Mary Poppins” in London. “This is a much smaller-scale celebration of what we do,” he said, referring to the road show. “I can’t beat up the reviewers. It’s all about the mix. If the show was totally successful and we were getting negative press, then we would have grown in each market.” Instead, the B.O. flatlined from week to week.
The Disney people continue to tinker with “On the Record.” This week in D.C., they’re adding another song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” from “Mary Poppins.”