The companies are working on a plan to "develop and license adaptations of classic titles from the Disney animated and live-action feature film library specifically for the professional and amateur theatre licensing market."
Disney and MTI will introduce both 60-minute and 30-minute version of certain titles for performances by children. The 60-minute version is geared toward grades 5-9, and the 30-minute version toward grades 1-4. After an initial period of development in which the new shows will be performed by children at selected "test sites," they will be made generally available for production at schools, camps, and children's theatres.
According to a statement, "By licensing directly to schools, and enabling students themselves to perform roles with which they are likely to be familiar, Disney hopes to encourage the next generation of theatre artists and audiences."
Freddie Gershon, chairman of MTI, which licenses hundreds of musicals for professional and amateur productions around the world, said in a statement, "Our team is enthusiastically embracing this unique collaborative venture with Disney. Our companies share a common vision to bring all of the arts to a new generation through active participation in musical theatre, and more specifically, with this delightful 'new' collection of stage musicals from Disney. The Disney titles will serve to enhance the entire global marketplace energizing and engaging children and students everywhere who are already familiar with the Disney film versions."
Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said, "Kids everywhere will be given an opportunity to perform in a school show from full-length musicals such as 'Newsies' and 'Mulan' to age-appropriate classics suitable for younger students, such as 'Cinderella,' 'Aladdin,' 'The Jungle Book' and '101 Dalmatians.'" Disney and MTI are working to develop these properties now in anticipation of launching the new program in Fall 2004.
For more information about MTI, visit www.MTIshows.com.