Disney Permanently Shuts Down “Frozen” on Broadway, Citing Coronavirus

Disney’s “Frozen” on Broadway will not return when theatrical operations resume following the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the New York Times, Disney Theatrical Productions says that its stage adaptation of “Frozen” will not reopen on Broadway once the pandemic eases

This makes “Frozen” the first Broadway performance permanently axed due to the virus.

“This difficult decision was made for several reasons but primarily because we believe that three Disney productions will be one too many titles to run successfully in Broadway’s new landscape,” Thomas Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a letter to his staff.

Schumacher said the company remains committed to “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” on Broadway, to “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins” in London’s West End, and to touring productions of “The Lion King” and “Frozen” in North America and “The Lion King” in Britain.

The company, which around the world had 29 shows either running or in preproduction earlier this year, has already cut short a North American touring production of “Aladdin” because of the pandemic, closing it six weeks early after a nearly three-year, 41-city run.

Schumacher, intent on demonstrating that Disney plans to stay in the theater business, said in his letter that “we remain committed to developing and producing stage musicals for a long time to come.”

He outlined a number of newish projects for the company, none of them aimed at Broadway. A new production of “Beauty and the Beast,” with the same creative team that worked on the 1994 original, is slated to open overseas next spring and in the United States in 2022, and the company is working on a new, smaller, touring production of “Aladdin.”

He said the company has also begun work on two new musicals adapted from Disney films: “The Jungle Book” will be directed by Christopher Gattelli with a book by Rajiv Joseph and new songs by Richard Sherman. And “Hercules,” directed by Lear deBessonet, will be written by Robert Horn, Alan Menken and David Zippel, expanded from a version that ran last year at New York’s Delacorte Theater under the auspices of the Public Theater.

Schumacher also said Disney is developing musical adaptations of “The Princess Bride,” with a book by Bob Martin and Rick Elice and songs by David Yazbek, as well as “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” directed by Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison, with a book by Brian Hill and new songs by Neil Bartram.

As for “Frozen”, it was a musical, directed by Michael Grandage, played 26 previews and 825 regular performances through what turned out to be its final show on March 11 at the St. James Theater.

Over the course of its run, it grossed $155 million and was seen by 1.3 million patrons.

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