The Playgoer: Disney Losing Touch?

Custom Search

Friday, August 31, 2007

Disney Losing Touch?

"They're hiring serious artists to direct basically cartoons," says a veteran theater producer. "It worked with 'The Lion King.' It hasn't worked since."

-Quoted by Michael Riedel, in his Denver dispatch on the impending disaster that is the Francesco Zambello-George Tsypin Little Mermaid.

After seeing a few of those cumbersome grey slabs of Tsypin's on stages lately, you gotta wonder how Zambello went into that Disney meeting pitching him with a straight face for a happy family musical!

Meanwhile, Riedel also takes us inside what's changing at Disney Theatrical and their overall place in the scene: "When "Beauty and the Beast" opened in 1994, there were very few family shows on Broadway. Today, the street's full of shows that appeal to families - "Wicked," "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde," "The Grinch," "Mary Poppins," "The Lion King." "

He also tells how Disney's backup move here after the bad reviews in Denver was to fly out NY group sales agents to motivate them to talk it up to their clients. "I might have liked the show a little better if I'd been in first-class," Riedel quotes one as saying.

I must say a couple of bloggers have already pounced on the Mermaid story before Riedel could go to press: Cara Joy and Moxie.


Anonymous said...

As for the bad comments, it's not as if they didn't know. For the month Disney's been out in Denver, the Denver Post has had a blog for attendees to note their comments, and they've been as scathing about the plot changes from the movie as they have been about the design.

Too bad they didn't use that feedback, from passionate LM fans as well as from passionate theatregoers. From what they said, I have a feeling the worst part of the Broadway debut will be harshing over the book -- they changed it so much that the goodwill from the movie fans might go away.

Armil@broadway lion king said...

If that will be the situation, I think it is not yet true in the mean time because there are lot's of people who still love to watch disney and some of them are fanatics.