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Five Other Disney Classics That Should Get the Broadway Treatment

The Lion King roars into the Arsht Center starting today.
The Lion King roars into the Arsht Center starting today.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!

In case you've been living under a rock, the Broadway version of Disney's The Lion King starts its run at the Adrienne Arsht Center today. And while you might be tempted to scoff at its plebeian origins, it stands as one of the longest-running Broadway productions and holds the record as the highest-grossing show of all time.

Of course, Disney has successfully adapted plenty of its other classic films, including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins for the Broadway stage, and has even had success with original productions like Aida. But there is still plenty of other source material we think Disney should look into.



5. The Black Cauldron

If you're scratching your head trying to remember when the hell this movie was released, we don't blame you. Before Disney got its groove back in the late '80s, it released the abysmal failure known as The Black Cauldron . The film featured sub-par animation and a script that deviated so far from the source material -- a novel by the same name -- that it was unrecognizable. It was also Disney's first PG-rated animated movie, one that was well deserved.

Why it should go Broadway? The film is one big, amazingly awesome clusterfuck, featuring a prophetic pig and an army of the walking dead.

Chances it will go Broadway? Zero. The film is rarely acknowledged by Disney and largely forgotten by the masses. Plus, the villain, the Horned King, goes down as one of the scariest antagonists we've ever seen in a children's film. Seriously? How did this movie ever get made?




4. Fantasia

This film is actually eight separate scenes that come together to create one anthology of beautiful animation. And each piece is set to a classical score with superb results. Perhaps the best known is "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which features Mickey Mouse as said apprentice trying his hand at magic with, er, varying results.

Why should it go Broadway? It shouldn't, lest it become a campy theatrical mess.

Chances it will go Broadway? Classical music isn't exactly in with the kids these days. Now, if Justin Bieber made a cameo, then it would be another story.




3. Sleeping Beauty

We are actually surprised Disney hasn't decided to cash in on all of its classic princess movies. But Sleeping Beauty stands out the most, because the storyline was already made into an opera back in 1825. Who's to say Disney can't make it even more family friendly and non-threatening with a Broadway adaptation? With music, of course, by Randy Newman or Lady Gaga ... or Randy Newman and Lady Gaga.

Why should it go Broadway? Because the mouse stands to make a lot of money. Plus, Beauty and the Beast went dark in 2007, and Disney needs to corner that young girl demographic.

Chances it will go Broadway? Very high. There is money to be made!




2. Alice in Wonderland

Every time we watch Alice in Wonderland , we can't help wonder how high Disney animators were while putting the film together. Alice takes a fucked-up trip (literally and figuratively) through Wonderland in which she drinks and ingests stuff, no questions asked. This is arguably Disney's quintessential stoner flick. And who doesn't love a girl that loves to party?

Why should it go Broadway? Because we have a bag of 'shrooms begging to be ingested while watching a stage adaptation.

Chances it will go Broadway? Surprisingly high, with Disney already in talks for a stage adaptation. Why are we surprised? Despite stunning visuals, the soundtrack is quite forgettable. And Disney already let Tim Burton butcher the Lewis Carroll classic by beating it to death with CGI.




1. Song of the South

OK, before you get angry, hear us out. No, Song of the South hasn't aged well at all, mostly because the film glosses over slavery in order to avoid offending anyone. Problem is, slavery wasn't as cute as the live-action-meets-animation film portrayed it to be. (Or, y'know, cute at all.) Then there is the offensive Southern black dialect. Really, this film is just one big jumbled mess of bad, horribly offensive stereotypes.

Why should it go Broadway? All art, including theater, should provoke a reaction -- good or bad. And Disney's idiotic move of trying to please everyone and therefore offending everyone shouldn't be swept under the rug. Also, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is catchy as hell.

Chances it will go Broadway? Even if Song of the South managed to be turned into a stage production, there is no chance any performing arts center would want it. Disney has even refused to reissue the film in the United States. That being said, no one seems to have a problem with Splash Mountain, the ride in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom based on stories and characters from the film -- minus Uncle Remus.


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Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

1300 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

305-949-6722

www.arshtcenter.org


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