×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Theatrical Eyeing Muppets On Stage (EXCLUSIVE)

Company began preliminary explorations with a presentation in New York

Disney Theatrical Prods. has quietly initiated early explorations of a live stage show featuring the Muppets, commencing late last month with a short but elaborate presentation directed by Alex Timbers.

SEE ALSO: Disney Eyes “Muppets” Sequel

The brief showcase, staged May 31 at Disney’s New Amsterdam Theater for a group of DTP staffers and a handful of others connected to the potential project, incorporated a handful of sets and more than 85 Muppets in an experiment intended to reveal whether it would even be feasible to present the Muppets in a live theatrical context, juggling puppetry needs with audience sightlines and all the other physical demands of legit theater.

SEE ALSO: “Muppets” Editor Sues Disney for Harassment

“It was a test of concept,” said Thomas Schumacher, producer and prexy of Disney Theatrical. With the focus on the tech requirements of such an endeavor, a short selection of pre-existing Muppet material was performed. (Yes, Kermit sang “Rainbow Connection.”)

Timbers, the busy director (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show,” “Here Lies Love”) whose upcoming gigs include “The Last Goodbye” in San Diego and “Rocky” on Broadway, told Schumacher he had come up with a concept for a Muppets stage show while they collaborated on Peter Pan prequel “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the 2011 Off Broadway outing that went on to win five Tonys in its 2012 Rialto transfer.

Scheduling of the recent trial, which ran only 15 minutes, was timed to take place during a window of overlapping availability for Timbers, the New Amsterdam (currently dark in advance of the spring 2014 bow of “Aladdin”) and the actual band of puppets, following the filming of Disney’s “The Muppets… Again!,” on tap for a March release.

The Muppets presentation was one part of Disney Theatrical’s broad slate of development activities, with legit incarnations of “Shakespeare in Love” and “Father of the Bride,” plus a redux of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” among the titles that are far further along on the road to the stage.

It’s too early to say whether a project will develop out of the recent Muppets event. But according to attendees, the brief tryout seemed to go well, and a stage version of the Muppets seems a no-brainer given the high profile of the widely beloved Disney property.

For now, though, it’s just a possibility, if a promising one. “I’m very intrigued,” Schumacher said.

More Legit

  • Alexander Dinelaris

    'Jekyll and Hyde' Movie in the Works Based on Broadway Musical

    The Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde” is getting the movie treatment from Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris. Dinelaris, who is writing and producing the adaptation, won an Oscar for the “Birdman” script and was a co-producer on “The Revenant.” He is producing “Jekyll and Hyde” as the first project under his New York-based development company, [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Listen: The 'Balls-Out Theatricality' of Sam Mendes

    If you find yourself directing a Broadway play with a cast so big it includes a goose, two rabbits, more kids than you can count and an actual infant, what do you do? If you’re Sam Mendes, you embrace the “balls-out theatricality” of it all. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “There is a kind [...]

  • James Corden Tony Awards

    James Corden to Host 2019 Tony Awards (EXCLUSIVE)

    James Corden has been tapped to once again host the Tony Awards, Variety has learned exclusively. “The Late Late Show” host previously emceed the annual theater awards show in 2016, and won the Tony for best actor in a play for his performance in “One Man, Two Guvnors” in 2012. “I’m thrilled to be returning to [...]

  • Frozen review Broadway

    ‘Frozen’ the Musical Opening in London in 2020

    “Frozen” the musical is coming to London and will open in the West End in fall 2020. The Michael Grandage-directed Disney Theatrical Productions stage show has been on Broadway for a year. Grandage’s production is now set to re-open Andrew Lloyd Webber’s refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are behind the [...]

  • Nantucket Sleigh Ride review

    Off Broadway Review: John Guare's 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride'

    Anyone who doesn’t have a cottage on the Cape or the Islands, as they say in Massachusetts, might be puzzled by the title of John Guare’s new play.  “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is no Revere Beach amusement park ride, but an old whaling term for the death throes of a whale that is still attached to [...]

  • Kiss Me Kate review

    Broadway Review: 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    No, Kate doesn’t get spanked. And for those wondering how the dicey ending of “Kiss Me, Kate” — that musical mashup of “The Taming of the Shrew” and backstage battling exes — would come across in these more sensitive times, well, that’s also been reconsidered for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of the Cole [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    West End Review: Tom Hiddleston in 'Betrayal'

    It takes three to tango, and Jamie Lloyd’s “Betrayal” completely grasps that. Having made it his mission to modernize the way we stage Harold Pinter’s plays, his chic, stripped-down staging starring Tom Hiddleston as a cuckolded husband might be his best attempt yet. Pared back and played out on an empty stage, this masterful play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content