Disney Adds 'Peter Pan' Prequel, 'Newsies' To Its Broadway Production Stable
NEW YORK -- Disney Theatrical Productions will have two new shows on Broadway this season, joining its long-running musicals The Lion King and Mary Poppins.
First up, Newsies: The Musical will start previews March 15 at the Nederlander Theatre, with an official opening of March 29. The limited 101-performance engagement follows a well-received run last fall at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. Broadway breakout star Jeremy Jordan (Joyful Noise) will reprise the lead role of rabblerousing newsboy Jack Kelly, played in the 1992 movie by Christian Bale.
The show features a score by multiple Oscar winner Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, with book by Harvey Fierstein. The stage adaptation is a significant reworking of the movie, which was inspired by the 1899 strike in which New York City newsboys took on the media moguls of the day. Jeff Calhoun directs, with Disney Theatrical taking sole producer credit.
Coinciding with that opening, the musical-play hybrid Peter and the Starcatcher will begin performances at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre March 28, with official opening set for April 15. The uptown move follows a hit Off Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop last year.
Based on the popular children’s novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, which explores the origin story of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the material was adapted by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys). Roger Rees and Alex Timbers share directing credit. While much of the original company is expected to reassemble for the transfer, Christian Borle will not be returning to the role of Black Stache (the character who evolves into Captain Hook) due to conflicts with the new NBC series, Smash.
While Disney is not a lead producer on Peter, the theatrical division shepherded the project through development, licensing it for Broadway to producers Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Greg Schaffert, Eva Price and Tom Smendes. However, as underlying rights holder, Disney will retain a producer credit and a hand in major creative decisions.
Both new shows will be eligible for consideration in the 2012 Tony Awards, the cutoff date for which is April 26.