Prince, Murney, Sills Tapped for Leads in New Disney Workshop

News   Prince, Murney, Sills Tapped for Leads in New Disney Workshop Some of New York musical theatre's busier thespians have been drafted to perform in the workshop of a new Disney-backed musical now operating under the working title When You Wish.

Some of New York musical theatre's busier thespians have been drafted to perform in the workshop of a new Disney-backed musical now operating under the working title When You Wish.

Cast in principal roles are Faith Prince, Julia Murney and Douglas Sills, a spokesman confirmed. The Manhattan workshop, directed by Tina Landau, will run May 13-June 15.

Names of other ensemble members in the roughly 20-member cast are yet to be announced.

As reported by Playbill On-Line April 18, Landau—who was once attached to the stage adaptation of Disney's Pinocchio—conceived the project. As the title (a shortened version of Jiminy Cricket's anthem "When You Wish Upon a Star") might suggest, the piece will incorporate existing songs from the Disney catalogue. Music from both films and stage works will be used, meaning the venture may possibly showcase tunes found only in the legitimate versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, as well as music from Elton John and Tim Rice's direct-to-stage musical Aida.

According to sources close to the project, the musical is envisioned by Landau, who will also pen the book. Prince is currently on Broadway in the ensemble cast of Noises Off. She won a Tony for her work in Guys and Dolls and another Tony nomination for last year's revival of Bells Are Ringing.

Murney has appeared in several musicals of the last couple New York seasons, all of which originated at Manhattan Theatre Club: Time After Time, the Andrew Lippa The Wild Party and A Class Act.

Sills is still best known for his derring-do in Broadway's The Scarlet Pimpernel. Since then, he has starred in the Encores! staging of Carnival.

Landau, an ambitious director who often takes a hand in the writing side of her projects, is best known for having directed and co-written the book for Floyd Collins. She had less success with Dream True, a collaboration with Ricky Ian Gordon which debuted at the Vineyard Theatre in 1998-99. Her play Space had its New York debut at the Public Theater in 1999. She also helmed the original musical The Ballad of Little Jo, at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble member.

Other theatrical projects Disney has in the works include Pinocchio, directed by Julie Taymor, and the Harlem Globetrotters musical, Hoopz, with music by Jeanie Tesori and a script by Suzan Lori Parks.

—By Robert Simonson