|The Broadway Musical|
by Walt Disney Animation Studios
Hercules is a musical based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios 1997 film of the same name. The music and lyrics were written by Alan Menken and David Zippel with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. The production is also loosely based on the legendary hero of the same name, the son of Zeus, in Greek mythology.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, the musical had a tryout at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in August 2019 to positive and mixed reviews.
In July 2017, Alan Menken said that he is working on a stage adaptation of the 1997 film, Hercules. On February 6, 2019, it was announced that the theatrical adaptation would premiere later that year.
A pre-broadway tryout occurred at Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Manhattan, New York, as part of its annual Shakespeare in the Park festival from August 31 until September 8. Menken and David Zippel returned to compose and write the songs, while Kristoffer Diaz wrote the book, Lear deBessonet directed and Chase Brock choreographed. The cast included Jelani Alladin (Hercules), Roger Bart (Hades), Jeff Hiller (Panic), Ernie Sabella (Pain), James Monroe Iglehart (Phil), Ramona Keller (Thalia), Tamika Lawrence (Calliope), Krysta Rodriguez (Meg), and Rema Webb (Terpsichore). Menken wrote new songs for the musical, as well as reusing the film's original works.
The music was performed by Alan Menken, with lyrics by David Zippel.
(A song title in bold indicates a song from the original movie.)
The pre-broadway tryout production has garnered mixed to positive reviews from critics, with many praising the cast, music, story, and production value. Thom Geier, of TheWrap, praised the production, saying it "works better than bigger-budgeted recent efforts like Frozen". Jessica Derschowits, of Entertainment Weekly, welcomed the "lively but low-key production that feels in many ways like the polar opposite of Disney’s string of megawatt Broadway hits — which is a big part of its charm". Jesse Green, of The New York Times, gave a positive review by commenting on the "shrewd casting and amateur performers joining professionals onstage, a middling 1997 animated Disney musical becomes a pageant of civic engagement". Matt Windman, of AM New York, gave a mixed review by commenting on "the lighthearted tone of the film, Kristoffer Diaz’s new book features countless zingers and inside jokes. Diaz also tries to deliver an underlying moral on the difference between being a hero and a celebrity. However, Diaz may have gone too far in changing around some of the original sequencing, which has made the second half of the show very messy".