Orange County Register's Paul Hodgins offers some meaty reportage on the Disney Theatrical empire in its second decade.
Their secret? Think beyond Broadway:
Elton John and Tim Rice's "Aida" is generally considered the least successful Disney musical. It endured a troubled design period marked by extended rewriting and high-level firings, and the critics were not kind. Yet it ran for more than four years on Broadway, it's still going strong in Germany and Japan, and a popular eight-month run recently closed in Korea.
" 'Aida' wasn't a bust," Schrader said. "What makes things work for us is the long term, the big picture. Whereas another (producer) would be counting on a show running at peak for as long as possible on Broadway, we're also involving our international partners from the early days on." Smaller countries with strong markets such as Holland, which are out of reach for most producers, are a regular stop for Disney musicals.
Also South Africa, where they plan a permanent, "sit down" run of "Lion King."
"We've had South Africans in every 'Lion King' wherever it's played," says David Schrader, the CFO. "It just sounds so authentic with South African performers."
Huh? Authentically what???