Matthew Bourne Withdraws from Stage Little Mermaid

News   Matthew Bourne Withdraws from Stage Little Mermaid Matthew Bourne, who had been set to direct and choreograph the stage version of "The Little Mermaid," has withdrawn from the project.

A spokesperson for the production confirmed to Playbill On-Line that both Bourne and his frequent collaborator, Lez Brotherston — who was scheduled to design the stage Mermaid — have bowed out of the project. Variety reports that Bourne told friends the Disney project was "too time consuming." Bourne received 1999 Tony Awards for Best Choreographer and Best Director for his production of Swan Lake. President of Disney Theatricals Thomas Schumacher told the industry paper, "There was the time it would take to do [Bourne's] vision vs. the timeline we're on, and I don't think they matched up. . . . I want to work with Matt; I adore him and think he's really smart. [But] it's just not going to be on Mermaid."

David Ives is still set to pen the book for the stage adaptation of the Disney film. Perhaps best known for his one-act comedies — All in the Timing and Time Flies — Ives has adapted 11 musicals for the City Center Encores! series, including The Pajama Game, Strike Up the Band, Wonderful Town, The Boys From Syracuse and Do Re Mi; he will also adapt one of this season's Encore! presentations, The New Moon. Ives is also represented on Broadway this season with the book for Dance of the Vampires.

The last Disney stage musical to bow in New York was Aida. Other possible upcoming projects include Hoopz, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan and Mary Poppins.