Remember how I mentioned in yesterday's story that there are senior officials at the Walt Disney Company who believe that " ... the HSM phenomenon will soon blow itself out." Well, this belief does not extend to Disney Theatrical.
If anything, the folks who brought us "The Lion King," "Mary Poppins" and "The Little Mermaid" believe that there's lots more life left in the "High School Musical" franchise. Which is why they just decided to extend the run of Disney's "High School Musical on Tour!," sending this sold-out stage show out to 25 additional U.S. markets. Not to mention the U.K. version of this Disney Channel Original which began presenting performances late last month. Or -- for that matter -- the West End production of HSM, which opens at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre on June 30th.
And let's not forget about the already-in-development stage version of "High School Musical 2." Through Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical plans on licensing the theatrical rights to this HSM sequel starting in October. With a two act version of the "HSM 2" stage show being available for high school, regional and professional productions, while a 70-minute, one-act version will then be marketed to middle schools.
Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved
And as soon as production of "High School Musical 3" is completed, Disney Theatrical plans on doing the exact same thing with that Walt Disney Pictures release. Create a stage version of this HSM sequel, and then market this production to all the theatrical troupes who previously produced HSM & HSM2.
Of course, this is the sort of thing that Disney Theatrical really excels at: brand extension. Taking a particular theatrical franchise and then milking that property for all it's worth. Take -- for example -- the stage version of "Mary Poppins." Now that the Broadway version of this Disney / Cameron Mackintosh co-production has actually recouped, it's now time for this show to hit the road and make some real money.
First out of the gate will the U.K. tour. With the touring production of "Poppins" opening in Plymouth in June, then making four other stops in Great Britain before Mary then flies off to Australia in 2009.
Copyright 2007 Disney / CML. All Rights Reserved
As for the North American tour of "Mary Poppins," that's supposed to get underway in March of 2009. When the touring version of "Mary Poppins" opens at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. After a two-to-three month-long engagement in the Windy City, Ms. Poppins then heads for the coast. Where Mary will do another two-to-three month stint in LA before heading for the Great White North. Where "Mary Poppins" will then begin performances at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
After that ... Well, Disney Theatrical did purchase these two domain names last month:
So one has to assume that Ms. Poppins goes to Washington sometime in 2010. But as for the rest of the North American tour, Disney Theatrical is being kind of tight-lipped at this moment.
Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved
On the other hand, one event that DT really is trying to get the word out about is next Tuesday's celebration of the release of "The Little Mermaid" 's original cast recording. In honor of this CD's release to stores, several members of the cast of Disney's newest Broadway show will be appearing at the World of Disney between 4 to 6 p.m. Where they will first perform a few numbers from the show before they then begin autographing copies of "The Little Mermaid" CD.
And speaking of upcoming NYC-based events, the folks behind Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS wanted us to remind all you ABC Soap fans out there about a very special event that's being held at Town Hall on Sunday, March 2nd. This "Evening of Musical Entertainment and Comedy" will feature stars from "All My Children," "One Life to Live," "General Hospital" as well as several hosts from "The View."
Among the performers who are currently scheduled to take part in "ABC Daytime salutes Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS" are Bradford Anderson, Kathy Brier, Rebecca Budig, Kassie DePaiva, Tony Geary, Whoopi Goldberg, Catherine Hickland, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Hillary B. Smith, Robin Strasser, Barbara Walters and Walt Willey.
Copyright 2008 ABC & BC/EFA. All Rights Reserved
FYI: In addition to this one-night-only performance, "ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS" has an online auction component. Where you can bid on such cool items as:
And given that these auctions actually close on Friday, February 22nd ... If you'd like to get in on these once-in-a-lifetime experiences, you'd best place a really competitive bid ASAP.
Anyway, that's the name of that Tune (Tuesday) ... Your thoughts?
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Hmmm. Never been a big fan of High School Musical, so I wont be booking tickets to see a stage show that is based on a sequel to a TV movie.
But I do admire Disney for making a mint out of HSM, the ice show sold out my local arena (Manchester UK) for quite a few nights recently, and the kids seemed to be loving it.
Disney did a really good job of infusing 'Finding Nemo' with all new songs, are there any other Disney hits that could be converted into a musical format? What about a rat that can cook, and sing?
As someone who works in the theatre I think this is a great idea. It turns it into an endless money-maker while not cramming it down anyone's throat. Think about it, if a company wants to do the show, meaning they have the talent to do it & an audience that they think wants to see it... they will do it. If there is no interest, then they perform some other musical. Disney just sits there, spending no money, and cashes the checks when community theaters everywhere ask to perform it.