Disney's 'Frozen' Musical Switches Up Dance Moves

Elsa Frozen - H 2014
Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Elsa Frozen - H 2014

Tony winner Christopher Gattelli is in advanced negotiations to step in for previously announced choreographer Peter Darling, who has dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.

Christopher Gattelli, who won a Tony Award in 2012 for Disney Theatrical Productions' Newsies, looks set to step in as choreographer on the company's eagerly anticipated stage musical adaptation of Frozen.

Disney confirmed over the weekend that talks are underway with Gattelli to replace the previously announced choreographer Peter Darling, who is exiting the production because of scheduling conflicts with the upcoming Groundhog Day musical, premiering in London this summer prior to its Broadway bow in early 2017.

Directed by Alex Timbers, the stage version of Frozen will be unrelated to the theme-park incarnation that debuted last month at Disneyland in California. The Broadway-bound show reunites screenwriter Jennifer Lee (who also co-directed the movie) with composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, best original song Oscar winners for "Let It Go."

Given the 2013 animated feature's global box-office haul of close to $1.3 billion, expectations are high for the musical to become Disney's next live-entertainment juggernaut. The production will have a pre-Broadway tryout in August 2017 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, with a New York opening in spring 2018.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter early in the project's gestation, Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Group, said of the planned musical, "It doesn't need to be fast. It needs to be great."

While the Disney stage division had Broadway disappointments with its musical adaptations of Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, its hits have dominated, notably the global blockbuster The Lion King and more recent stablemate Aladdin, which has done stellar business since opening in New York in March 2014.

The Lion King — which is approaching its 20th anniversary on Broadway and in 2014 became history's top-grossing entertainment title across all platforms — was the highest earner once again in the Broadway season that just wrapped, raking in $102.7 million, while Aladdin came in third, with $80.9 million. The latter show is opening international satellite productions this summer in London and Sydney.

In addition to Newsies, Gattelli's work as a choreographer on Broadway includes the Tony-winning revivals of South Pacific and The King and I. Casting for Frozen has not yet been announced.