Walt Disney's The Lion King on Broadway has been enjoying weekly grosses averaging better than $750,000, which gets a company to thinking. Disney is already holding auditions for its next production, Aida, planned for fall 1998. Starting Jan. 5, Disney is hosting a five-week workshop to adapt its 1996 animated film hit, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, to the stage.
As confirmed by Disney spokesman Chris Boneau, discussions are underway to bring the show to Broadway with James Lapine directing. Lapine's latest directorial assignment, The Diary Of Anne Frank, recently opened to positive reviews.
Composer Stephen Schwartz told Playbill On-Line that, as with the animated film, he and Alan Menken are working on songs for the show, with Lapine in charge of the libretto. He also mentioned that Disney will be holding an "in-house" workshop of Hunchback, Jan. 5- Feb. 8. Schwartz's works include Children Of Eden, Pippin and Godspell.
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame movie featured the voices of such theatre folks as Paul Kandel (Tommy), Tom Hulce (A Few Good Men), Kevin Kline (Ivanov) and Jason Alexander (Accomplice), Charles Kimbrough (Company, Sunday in the Park With George).
Like 1995's Pocahontas, Hunchback has music by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and lyrics by Schwartz (who also wrote The Baker's Wife, parts of Working and lyrics for Rags). Based on Victor Hugo's novel about a misshappen man with a beautiful soul who yearns for the world beyond his belltower and falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl, the film is directed by Kirk Wise and Garry Trousdale. Hugo's novel, Les Miserables was the source for the long-running stage musical.