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The 'Lion King' lineage on Broadway

In 1997, Disney's production of "The Lion King" opened on Broadway, redefining the visual possibilities of the form and ushering in an era of Disney dominance on the Great White Way.

The path for its success was partly paved by Disney's Broadway adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" in 1993, but its unprecedented success opened the door for a stream of  Disney screen-to-stage transfers that has yet to abate.

Here's a look at the studio's musical theater adaptations that have played in Buffalo, with many more in the pipeline.

"Beauty and the Beast"

Film: 1991. Musical: 1993
Last seen in Buffalo: Shea's, 2014
What The News said: "The production is absolutely spotless, powered by a gifted and eager cast who appear as much like cartoons as the 1991 animations on which their characters and costumes are based."

On Broadway and the road, 'The Lion King' still roars

"Mary Poppins"

Film: 1964. Musical: 2004
Last seen in Buffalo: Artpark, 2014
What The News said: "In a way that few Disney shows have been able to accomplish before or since, this 2004 production talks to kids without talking down to them and embraces the melancholy, menacing and minor-key elements necessary for a truly good kids’ story to remain lodged in theater fans’ memories for decades to come."

Film: 1992. Musical: 2012
Last seen in Buffalo: Shea's, 2015
What The News said:  "The show, ostensibly about the New York City newsies – newspaper boys – strike of 1899, is really a string of big dance numbers with the shadow of a narrative and a ballad thrown in every so often to let the cast catch its breath. If you calibrate your expectations to the level established by the 1992 movie on which the show is based, you’re in for a great time."

"High School Musical"
Film: 2006. Musical: 2007
Last seen in Buffalo: Shea's, 2007
What The News said: "What's surprising about the stage version is that it actually takes a valiant stab at improving the impossibly hokey TV movie that started the 'HSM' craze. There are dozens of marked improvements, with some cleaned up arrangements, modified choreography, updated and savvier dialogue and more than a few subtle jabs at the hyper-wholesome nature of this mania's progenitor."

"The Little Mermaid"
Film: 1989. Musical: 2007
Last seen in Buffalo: 2017
What The News said: "Some elements ignite the imagination, like Charlie Morrison’s deep-sea lighting design, while Amy Clark and Mark Koss’ costume design begs for an edit. Ultimately, it’s best to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride. Imagine an ocean. Picture a 6-foot-tall dancing crab. Squint your eyes, if you must."

Disney touring productions that yet to play Buffalo:
"Tarzan," 2006
"Aladdin," 2011
"Pinocchio," 2012
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame," 2014
"Frozen," 2017

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