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Disney Theatrical Gets Busy with ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘Newsies’

Lee Hall will adapt 'Shakespeare' for the Cheek by Jowl duo, while 'Newsies' launches a tour

Disney Theatrical Prods. keeps loading more onto its plate, setting the creative team and West End theater for the upcoming premiere of its co-production of “Shakespeare in Love” plus a tour of current Broadway title “Newsies” set to hit the road next year.

Developments with these projects comes fast on the heels of Disney’s recent announcement that it will adapt “The Princess Bride” for the stage. It newest production targeted for Broadway, “Aladdin,” is in the midst of a tryout run in Toronto prior to a spring opening on the Rialto.

Lee Hall, the scribe who adapted his own screenplay for the tuner adaptation of “Billy Elliot,” will pen the play version of “Shakespeare in Love,” based on the 1998 film penned by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod, the duo behind Brit troupe Cheek By Jowl, will stage the show.

Co-produced by Disney Theatrical and Sonia Friedman Prods. (currently represented on Broadway with “Twelfth Night/Richard III”), “Shakespeare in Love” is due to open on the West End at the Noel Coward Theater in summer 2014, with previews to start in July. Although it’s a play rather than a musical, the large-scale staging is due to encompass some 25 actors and musicians.

Meanwhile, “Newsies,” the title Disney originally intended for the road before it became a surprise Broadway success, will kick off its tour in Schenectady, N.Y. before an official opening engagement in Philadelphia in October 2014.

Tour has lined up 25 stops over 43 weeks, including L.A., Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and Dallas, with more stops to be announced. Because the production that’s now on the Main Stem was originally designed to tour, no design changes will be necessary for the road incarnation.

“Shakespeare in Love” and “Princess Bride” are among a roster of properties in varying stages development with Disney Theatrical, with other titles on the list including “Freaky Friday,” ‘Father of the Bride” and “Dumbo.”

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