Outside the attractions at Epcot, Figment appeared in several educational short films in the early ’80s two of which featured Peter Pan and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
In March 2011, Gordon Cox of Variety officially announced that Disney will produce Dumbo which “will see Michael Chabon penning the book for the “Billy Elliot” duo of director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling. Bob Crowley (“Aida,” “Mary Poppins”) designs.”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In 2008, Stephen Schwartz said, “I think we’re starting up Hunchback of Notre Dame, hopefully, next year (2009). Rumor has reached my ear that it’s happening.” Thomas Schumacher, head of Disney Theatrical, discussed current and future stage productions in an article published by the Columbus Dispatch on September 21, 2008. In the article, a US-version of Hunchback is listed among others as being in development, “Disney’s first original foreign-language production, which ran from 1999 to 2002 in Berlin, is being revamped for its U.S. premiere.” In a recent interview, Alan Menken confirmed an American revival coming soon to New York. No casting has been announced.
The Jungle Book
Variety stated that there is an “Early-stages project [of] “Jungle Book,” a tuner version (with songs from the movie) to be written and directed by Mary Zimmerman (“Metamorphases”).”
The Rescuers Down Under
Rumors have been spreading for a stage adaptation of the 1990 animated film “The Rescuers Down Under,” was in the works. The music would feature the songs from the movie as well as new original songs by Elton Johnand Tim Rice, the composers of The Lion King. It’s still unofficial if the project will happen.
Rumors have been spreading for a stage adaptation of the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas,” was in the works. The music would feature the songs from the movie as well as new original songs by Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz. It’s still unofficial if the project will happen.
Alice in Wonderland
Disney Theatrical is already in early talks with Tim Burton and screenwriter Linda Woolverton to develop the hit 2010 film of the same nameinto a Broadway musical. Woolverton authored the screenplay for Disney’s The Lion King and is also the Tony Award-nominated book writer of Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and Lestat. Burton will also render the overall designs for the stage musical. Woolverton will adapt her screenplay for the stage production. Neither a composer nor songwriting team has been chosen yet. Robert Jess Roth is set to helm the stage musical that will have choreography by Matt West. The duo also collaborated on Disney’s first Broadway outing: Beauty and the Beast. No casting has been announced.
A musical version of the film, with a book by Bridget Carpenter and a score by Ryan Scott Oliver, is expected to have a “developmental production” at the La Jolla Playhouse next season. Christopher Ashley is named as “likely” to be the director.
So, which show would you like to see next?
Well, I’m guessing those would be Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Walt Disney had a facination with Alice in Wonderland well before the animated feature was made. One of his first ventures was the one reel Alice’s Wonderland, the first of the Alice Comidies, produced uner his own Laugh-O-Gram Studios in Kansas City, MO. The 10 minute short featured Alice entering a cartoon studio to witness cartoons being created, and watching the cartoons come to life around her. When the studio went bankrupt, Disney sold his motion picture camera and bought a train ticket to California, bringing the reel with him. In California, Disney continued to send out proposals for the Alice series, in hopes of obtaining a distribution deal, which was finally arranged through Winkler Pictures, run by Margaret Winkler and her fianceé, Charles Mintz, on the basis of Alice’s Wonderland.
In 1927, due to cost and technical restrictions, Disney and his chief animator Ub Iwerks decided to end their work on the Alice Comedies series in search of new creative opportunities. Coincidentally, Universal Studios wanted to get into the cartoon business and needed a cartoon character of their own. So Disney’s distributor Charles Mintz told Disney and Iwerks to create a new character they could sell to Universal. Wanting to make cartoons with an all animated look, Disney signed a contract with Universal Studios leading to the creation of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Universals first cartoon series.
In the spring of 1928, Disney traveled to New York City in hopes of negotiating a more profitable contract with Mintz. But as economic problems were apparent at the time, Mintz figured Disney should settle for a 20% cut, although large turnarounds were promised if the studio’s finances show considerable growth. While his fellow animators remained at Mintz’s studio, Disney decided to quit his job and therefore leave there the character he created. But on his long train ride home, came up with an idea to create another character. He and Iwerks would go on to develop a new cartoon in secret of the public which later be known as Plane Crazy, the first Mickey Mouse Cartoon.
Despite the fact that there have been many other Alice in Wonderland films, Tim Burton has said he never felt an emotional connection to it and always thought it was a series of some girl wandering around from one crazy character to another. (In fact, the original books are part of a once-popular fantasy genre in which the character does nothing except wander around from one crazy encounter to another. Those films which replicated this were being true to the spirit of the original books.) So with this, he attempted to create a framework, an emotional grounding, which he felt he never really had seen in any version before. Tim said that was the challenge for him - to make Alice feel like a story as opposed to a series of events.
Actress Mia Wasikowska beat out several candidates for the role of Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, including Amanda Seyfried and Lindsay Lohan, who lobbied for the role. According to Tim Burton, it was Mia Wasikowska’s gravity that won her the role.
Stayne in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland has only one eye, symbolising his being a representation of the Jack of Hearts. (The Jack of Hearts and the Jack of Spades are often referred to as the “One-Eyed Jack” since only one eye is visible on the card.)
In Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen and White Queen’s castles were designed to look like Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World.
Marni Nixon lent her voice to four Disney movies, but was only credited in one. She was the main title soloist in the opening of Cinderella, the singing flowers in Alice in Wonderland, the singing geese in “Jolly Holliday” in Mary Poppins, and (her only credited role) the singing voice of Grandmother Fa in Mulan.