PLAYBILL PICKS: From Jafar to Scar to Gaston, A Rogues' Gallery of Disney Stage Villains

By Michael Gioia
April 7, 2012

With the Broadway arrival of the new Disney musical Newsies — a show with a surprising history-inspired antagonist — we take a look at the most notorious baddies from Disney's musical stage adaptations. Who's your favorite in the Hall of Shame?



*

Burke Moses
Photo by Joan Marcus

Villain: Gaston
Musical: Beauty and the Beast
Crime: No beast alive stands a chance against him — and no girl, for that matter! Gaston, the boorish, brainless and conceited village huntsman, is admired by all the townsfolk except one — the beautiful and charming bookworm, Belle. When Gaston realizes that Belle is unavailable and unattainable, he promises himself that he will do whatever it takes to marry her, even if that means having her father, Maurice, committed to an asylum — and taking down the Beast.
Onstage: The role of Gaston was created by Burke Moses in the animated film's Broadway musical adaptation, which officially opened at the Palace Theatre April 18, 1994. The long-running Tony-nominated musical featured an additional song for the villainous hunter by award-winning composer Alan Menken entitled "Me," in which Gaston sings his praises — literally — in an attempt to persuade Belle to marry him.
Musical Numbers: Aside from Gaston's first-act ballad, "Me," the Disney cad promises to kill the Beast in "The Mob Song" and send Maurice to the "Maison de Lunes." (He also duets with Lefou on "Gaston.")

For more on Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, visit the Playbill Vault.

Patrick Page as Scar.
photo by Joan Marcus

Villain: Scar
Musical: The Lion King
Crime: Be prepared — he's a sneaky one, that Scar! After Simba ventures past the Pride Lands and onto his Uncle Scar's territory, Scar devises a plan to use his nephew to kill his own brother, Mufasa, and become king. When Scar leaves Simba in a deserted gorge, he signals a stampede and alerts Mufasa that his son is trapped. After Mufasa saves his son from danger, he tries to get himself out of harm's way, but (spoiler alert!) Scar allows him to fall to his death. The backstabbing lion then convinces Simba to leave the Pride Lands forever —so Scar can take the throne.
Onstage: The role of Scar was originated on Broadway by John Vickery. The Tony Award-winning musical, which officially opened Nov. 13, 1997, recently became the sixth longest-running musical in Broadway history, having played over 5,900 performances.
Musical Numbers: Scar sings with his hyena sidekicks, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, in the first act number, "Be Prepared," and again, during the second act, in "The Madness of Scar." The score is by Elton John and Tim Rice.

For more on Broadway's The Lion King, visit the Playbill Vault.

Micky Dolenz joined the Broadway company as Zoser later in the run.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Villain: Zoser
Musical: Aida
Crime: Radames — captain of the Egyptian army and fiancé of Amneris, the Pharaoh's daughter — is expected to succeed the Pharaoh and take over the Egyptian throne. Zoser, the power-hungry father of Radames, attempts to speed up the process by poisoning the Pharaoh. Things are going according to plan until Aida, the Nubian princess, finds her way into the heart of Radames. With their love standing in the way of Radames' ascension to power, Zoser must have her killed.
Onstage: The role of Zoser was created by John Hickok in the Broadway musical, which opened at the Palace Theatre March 23, 2000. In the musical, Hickok was joined by Rent Tony nominee Adam Pascal as his onstage son, Radames, and Heather Headley, who took home the Tony for her performance in the title role.
Musical Numbers: Zoser is given two rock ballads in the musical, which features a score by Elton John and Tim Rice. His first act number, in which he prepares Radames for the throne, is entitled "Another Pyramid"; when things go awry in the second act, he tells Radames that he must be "Like Father, Like Son."

For more on Broadway's Aida, visit the Playbill Vault.

Jonathan Freeman (right) and Don Darryl Rivera

Villain: Jafar
Musical: Aladdin
Crime: Jafar, another power-hungry Disney character, was on the hunt for fame, fortune and immortality. The only thing that stood in his way was the charming street kid, Aladdin. In his quest to capture the Genie and the magic lamp, Jafar turned to his sidekick, the foul-mouthed parrot Iago, to steel the magic lamp out of Aladdin's possession. Now, as the Genie's new master, Jafar uses his wishes to become the Sultan of Agrabah — and the most powerful sorcerer in the world.
Onstage: The role of Jafar was brought to life by Tony Award nominee Jonathan Freeman, who also voiced Jafar in the 1992 animated Disney film, at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. The production's future life is yet to be determined.
Musical Numbers: When the Disney version of Aladdin premiered at 5th Avenue in summer 2011, the musical incorporated songs from the film's Oscar-winning score, plus never-before-heard songs restored from early drafts of the film score. In Seattle, Jafar was seen singing "Why Me" (a song cut from the film) in the first act (the revised Alan Menken score features lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice with new lyrics by Chad Beguelin).

For more on Jonathan Freeman, visit the Playbill Vault.

Sherie Rene Scott
Photo by Joan Marcus

Villain: Ursula
Musical: The Little Mermaid
Crime: Ursula, the part-octopus sea witch, was banished from the castle of King Triton when she tried to seize the throne. Her only hope in returning to power is by capturing Ariel, the youngest and most beautiful daughter of King Triton. The evil sea witch persuades Ariel — a "Poor Unfortunate Soul" — to trade her angelic voice for a pair of legs. When the deal is done, Ariel is given a strict time limit to find true love or else her voice will forever remain in the tentacles of Ursula. Of course, the sea witch sets out to sabotage the young mermaid and hold her soul captive for all eternity.
Onstage: The role of Ursula was originated on Broadway by Sherie Rene Scott, who was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance. Scott brought her standout vocals — and a daffy, comic quality — to the inky-black role.
Musical Numbers: Aside from Ursula's Act One finale, the iconic "Poor Unfortunate Souls," Menken added "I Want The Good Times Back," in which Ursula sings with henchfish Flotsam and Jetsam.

For more on Broadway's The Little Mermaid, visit the Playbill Vault.

Ruth Gottschall as Miss Andrew on Broadway.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Villain: Miss Andrew
Musical: Mary Poppins
Crime: When high-flying nanny Mary Poppins leaves the Banks residence at the end of the first act, Jane and Michael are greeted by Miss Andrew, Mr. Banks' childhood nanny, who will now take over for Poppins. Andrews, a brutal tyrant, does not believe in Mary Poppins' "Spoonful-of-Sugar" outlook on life and instead gives the children her own terrible concoction of "Brimstone and Treacle."
Onstage: The role of witchy Miss Andrew was originated by Ruth Gottschall (who still stars) in the long-running Broadway musical, which opened Nov. 16, 2006, at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
Musical Numbers: The not-so-nice nanny sings the menacing "Brimstone and Treacle," one of several new songs written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe in the musical that also features the beloved film score by the Sherman Brothers. In part two of "Brimstone and Treacle," nannies Poppins and Andrew face off.

For more on Broadway's Mary Poppins, visit the Playbill Vault.

Clayton in the animated feature film "Tarzan."

Villain: Clayton
Musical: Tarzan
Crime: On Prof. Porter and his daughter Jane's wildlife expedition in Africa, Clayton tags along as their guide. When he realizes that Jane is falling for the ape-raised human Tarzan, he becomes jealous of their relationship. He later tricks Tarzan into showing him the gorilla nesting grounds. There, Clayton finds and kills Kerchak, Tarzan's father figure and leader of the gorillas.
Onstage: The role of Clayton was played by Donnie R. Keshawarz in the Broadway adaptation, which officially opened May 10, 2006, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Musical Numbers: Although Clayton doesn't sing any of the Phil Collins score, the audience begins to see the hunter's jealous side when Jane sings "Like No Man I've Ever Seen" and Tarzan talks of the "Strangers Like Me."

For more on Broadway's Tarzan, visit the Playbill Vault.

Logan Hart and Bailey Hanks
Photo by Gerry Goodstein

Villain: Sharpay Evans
Musical: High School Musical
Crime: "Let's put it this way, no one has beaten out Sharpay for a musical since kindergarten!" In walks Gabriella Montez, who decides to try out her acting abilities at East High School by auditioning for the lead of Juliet and Romeo, the drama club's adaptation of the Shakespeare classic. When Gabriella earns herself a callback, Sharpay loses it and decides to sabotage three things precious to Gabriella: Her relationship (with love interest Troy Bolton), her social status and, most importantly, her callback.
Onstage: The role of Sharpay was played by Bailey Hanks, winner of the MTV reality series "Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods," in the stage version's professional New York City-area staging at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ.
Musical Numbers: In the first act, Sharpay sings the duet "What I've Been Looking For" with her brother — the equally talented, but far less manipulating — Ryan Evans. In the second act, the dynamic duo takes it up a notch with "Bop to the Top," stating that you must "bump the competition" and "blow them all away"! Both songs were borrowed from the show's source material — the smash TV movie musical.

For more on Bailey Hanks visit, the Playbill Vault.

Jeremy Jordan and John Dossett
Photo by Deen van Meer

Villain: Joseph Pulitzer
Musical: Newsies
Crime: When newspaper giant Joseph Pulitzer realizes that circulation of the New York World is down, he decides to raise the price that newsboys pay for "papes" to compensate for the losses. Although Jack Kelly and his fellow newsies form a union and go on strike in hopes to correct the price, Pulitzer is unwilling to back down.
Onstage: The role of Pulitzer was recently created by Tony Award nominee John Dossett (Gypsy, Mamma Mia!, Ragtime, Fifth of July), who also performed the role prior to Broadway at Paper Mill Playhouse last fall.
Musical Numbers: Pulitzer, who was not seen singing in the 1992 film, was given the song "The News is Getting Better" at Paper Mill Playhouse, which was later replaced with "The Bottom Line" for Broadway.

For more on Broadway's Newsies, visit the Playbill Vault.