Frozen is now Disney Animation’s highest-grossing film in North America, which means there are likely quite a few people who know and love the characters, enjoy the music, and would like to revisit the film. The film that Frozen breezed past, The Lion King, made the jump to Broadway in the 90s, and still constantly sells out shows. Actually, The Lion King was the highest-grossing show on Broadway in 2013, a remarkable feat considering it is more than 15 years removed from its debut. Frozen appears to be following in its footsteps as we have word that Disney is currently developing a stage version for the newly-minted smash hit.
Fortune interviewed Disney CEO Bob Iger, discussing the success of Frozen and how it was the result of years of groundwork that goes all the way back to the purchase of Pixar. Pixar heads John Lasseter and Ed Catmull became integral to the reworking of Disney Animation, clearly evidenced in the drive to make the animation house a filmmaker-driven studio, just like Pixar. The interview also covers the future, with a Frozen musical being mentioned specifically. Towards the end of the article, Iger comments on its development:
In his interview with Fortune, Iger confirmed for the first time that Disney is in discussions to develop a show, though there is no set time frame. “We’re not demanding speed,” he says. “We’re demanding excellence.”
Disney Theatrical Productions, which is in charge of bringing the company properties to the stage, later confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that it “is in early development.” This is an exciting development for fans of the film, as well as for musical theater aficionados. It will be a return to the stage for Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez, who are responsible for the music in The Book of Mormon, which is currently a massive success on Broadway and around the country. It will also allow the husband/wife team to write more music for Frozen, as they developed more songs than made it into the final cut of the film. Given the performance-driven focus of musicals, it is a sure thing that additional songs will make it into the stage version.
Iger and Disney’s stage arm are also obviously trying to temper expectations that the musical will be in development anytime soon. Hearing about how “excellence” is more important than “speed” and that the show is still in “early development,” we will likely have to wait an extended period before it makes it to the stage, whether that is at the Disney Parks, on the Disney Cruise Line ships, or to Broadway. There is one sure thing, though, and that is that Disney wants the film’s fans to be able to revisit it – a musical will give them the chance to do so.
We await further details on the development of the Frozen musical!