Avenue Q Composer Lopez Co-Pens Musical Finding Nemo for Disney
By Ernio Hernandez
Tony Award-winning Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez has penned a musical version of the animated film "Finding Nemo" with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, to debut late this year at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Peter Brosius, artistic director of the 2003 Tony Award-winning Minneapolis' Children's Theatre Company (where Broadway's A Year With Frog and Toad debuted), will direct the new work slated to play several times a day at the Florida resort in the newly enclosed Theater in the Wild.
"We are truly excited to bring this beloved story to life at Disney's Animal Kingdom in this new musical spectacular," said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo. "It is our goal to bring the undersea 'Nemo' characters to Disney's Animal Kingdom in a live setting in a way that captures what is truly special about the film. This production will meet that challenge in a dynamic and wholly original way to bring us into the fantastical ocean world."
Featuring original songs by Lopez (Avenue Q) and fellow composer Anderson-Lopez (Storyville, Along the Way), Finding Nemo — The Musical will take guests of Walt Disney World underwater to follow "the story of Marlin and Nemo, an overprotective clownfish father and his curious son," in a production that "combines puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops," according to a release.
Michael Curry, who designed puppets seen in the Broadway version of Disney's The Lion King, is part of the creative team for Nemo. Major characters (such as Marlin, Nemo and Dory) will be realized on stage by "live performers operating larger-than-life puppets" while other characters will come to life through "a diverse array of puppetry styles, including rod, bunraku and shadow."
Finding Nemo — The Musical is the first major musical produced for the Walt Disney World Resort by Disney Creative Entertainment — the creators behind Disney's Aladdin (at Disneyland Resort in California), The Lion King (at Hong Kong Disneyland), Twice Charmed (on the Disney Cruise Line) and The Golden Mickeys (at Hong Kong Disneyland and on the Disney Cruise Line).
Finding Nemo — The Musical will be performed at Theater in the Wild. Admission to the show is included with entry to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. Guest information is available by calling (407) 824-4321 or online at disneyworld.com.
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