Theatrical titles from Disney are a great way to introduce your students to theatre using characters and stories with which they are undoubtedly familiar. Combine them with a 60-minute or 30-minute Broadway Junior runtime and you’ve got yourself a show that’s easy to teach and fun for your kids to learn and perform! A significant part of your planning and budgeting a musical at your high school will involve production costs like set design, materials, and (if necessary) special elements that bring that all-important Disney magic – a flying carpet, London rooftops, an ice palace. While plot points like these might put a halt to your production planning (how DO I get a carpet to fly?), there are great, affordable solutions out there that will bring your production to life in ways you never thought possible before – and it’s accessible to school budgets of all shapes and sizes.
Digital Scenery is becoming a very popular method for creating sets and special effects on a budget – and often using the technology you already have in your classroom. Broadway Media’s Scenic Projections is show-specific projected digital scenery background packages designed to match every scene, setting and special effect in that show – what we call “script accurate”. Teachers across the world are turning to Scenic Projections to help them focus on what matters the most: the education and enrichment of their students. Without having to worry about constructing and painting a set, or renting expensive painted backdrops, teachers have found that they can cut the unnecessary stress out of the (already stressful) production process and improve their production quality at the same time.
In this article, we’re going to explore some key moments in our favorite Disney shows, and how Scenic Projections are helping teachers solve production challenges.
Disney’s Frozen JR. (also available as a 30-minute KIDS version)
The video projections were absolutely gorgeous. They made our production and I am so thankful we used them for Frozen, JR. You made everything so easy! Fantastic product and company! - Trinity Christian Academy
Disney’s Frozen JR. is a runaway success in the vast catalog of traditional and contemporary Disney stage shows, and that’s in no doubt partly due to its namesake internationally-acclaimed hit movie. The show has it all: an inspirational story of sisterhood, massive anthems like “Let It Go”, sun-worshipping snowmen, magic and adventure. A 60 or 30-minute Broadway Junior adaptation, then, is destined to be a hit at your school.
Broadway Media’s Scenic Projections help with bringing the magic and adventure to the stage, while you get your cast pitch-perfect. With incredible sequences like “Let It Go” that is timed perfectly to the music (below), Elsa’s ice castle will appear onstage as if by magic!
Mary Poppins(also available as a 60-minute BROADWAY JUNIOR version)
It gave our show the touch of uniqueness and class that we needed. The audience comments were very favorable, all this while making our job easier.- Mohawk High School
Based on the classic stories of P.L. Travers and the 1964 Walt Disney Film starring Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins brings to life our favorite classic characters onstage. Since release, the film has become a part of American film canon: in 2013, the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. As one of the highest-grossing movies in the 20th Century, it’s not hard to believe that most of us have been touched by this classic story about family and its timeless score.
Mary Poppins’ transfer to the stage in 2004 was a success – with a six-year run on Broadway, and a haul of Tony nominations (and a win for Best Scenic Design) in 2007, the musical has since become a popular choice for schools and amateur theaters to perform. The stage adaptation came with numerous stage magic and special effects to ensure the proper retelling of the story, much of which can seem out-of-budget for schools. Scenic Projections will help teachers make easy work of the cinematic musical, with smooth transitions between scenes, and even a Mary Poppins that flies in from the skies above London!
(The sound of wind. MARY POPPINS appears. She is wearing a hat with cherries on the brim and carrying an umbrella with a handle shaped like a parrot’s head.)
Disney’s Aladdin JR. (also available as a 30-minute KIDS version)
Broadway Media’s projections really topped off the show - everyone was completely RAVING about them and this new element we have introduced - it added to our stellar cast of students.- Academy of St. Paul
Does anyone forget the first time they watch Aladdin? This 1992 classic explores the true meaning of wealth and power with energy, humor and features an unforgettable performance by Robin Williams (serious props to the animators)! The transfer to the stage, and the Broadway Junior adaptations, lose none of the wit and wisdom of the show, making it a superb story to tell at the school level.
The centerpiece of the movie, and the stage musical, is undoubtedly the magic carpet ride during “A Whole New World”. Recreating this for the stage is an expensive and complicated process, but with Broadway Media’s digital scenery package, however? A trip over Agrabah is as simple as the click of a mouse. Check out the clip below from a Middle School production that features Broadway Media’s projections and watch that carpet fly (at about the 1 minute mark)!
Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR. (also available for the full-length show)
Thank you for a good experience! I liked the images. They were sharp and colorful and added a lot to our show for very little expense. - Graham Middle School
This musical is based on the 1989 Disney animated feature film, which explores (at the time) revolutionary themes of identity in Reagan-era America. Hailed by the New York Times as “the best animated Disney film in at least 30 years”, Howard Ashman’s interpretation of the fairytale is heralded as ushering a new dawn for the studio following the death of its founder and namesake.
The stage adaptation doubled down on the contemporary themes identified by Howard Ashman, as explained by the book writer, Playwright Doug Wright, that Arial is longing for "a world in which she feels truly realized in her own terms. ... Her ambitions are bigger than any one man." While the transfer to the stage was not always smooth-sailing, The Little Mermaid has found a home on the stages of schools and community theaters. Solving the obvious issues of cinematic scene changes from land to sea, Broadway Media’s Scenic Projections are a feast for the eyes - and make performing this musical a breeze.
The Lion King JR. (also available as a 30-minute KIDS version)
The scenes for Disney's The Lion King JR. we're great. The images have allowed us go from one or two backdrops per show to 8 or more scenes per show. The scenes have really enhanced our show. - River City Theatre Company
Based on one of Disney’s most-adored animated films, The Lion King roared onto Broadway in 1997 and has stayed there ever since (it’s even grossed over $1 billion at the box office making it the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time). This record-breaking musical has since been adapted for the school stage with a 60-minute Junior adaptation and a 30-minute KIDS version.
This tale of adventure, family and identity is a must-perform musical at the school level. With a classic, singable score from Elton John and Tim Rice, your students are well-equipped to bring a familiar story to life onstage. Scenic Projections help simplify the cinematic-adventure requirements of the book, with beautifully-drawn Pridelands, the Elephant Graveyard, and The Jungle, teachers can focus on their students giving an amazing performance!
Disney’s Moana JR.
We just concluded our performance of Disney’s Moana JR. and used your beautiful projections. We got RAVE reviews from audience members – they LOVED them! - Carolyn Mottern, Southern Fulton High School.
Based on the 2016 animated Disney film of the same name, Moana JR. treads familiar territory of identity and self discovery, but injected with a fresh score from talents such as Lin Manuel Miranda (In The Heights, Hamilton) and Opetaia Foa’i (a Samoan composer and musician known for their South Pacific Fusion musical style). There’s something for everyone in this new hit musical from Disney Theatrical (much along the lines of Frozen JR.), but color-conscious casting is a must here.
In the vein of much of the Disney musicals catalog, the script is inherently cinematic (it moves from location to location) and solves scene transition issues: particularly in Moana and Maui’s journey to Tamatoa’s underwater lair. Digital Scenery brings color and gorgeous animation to the production, reinforcing the unique stops along their quest for the heart of Te Fiti.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (also available as a 60-minute BROADWAY JUNIOR version)
We were extremely pleased with the projections for our production of Beauty and the Beast. They added a magical element to the show and helped make the transitions seamless.- North Greenville University
Excluding the screen to stage-revue adaptations for their entertainment parks, Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney animated film to receive the Broadway treatment. Lauded as a transformative musical due to its success and the technical stagecraft required to bring the show to life onstage, Beauty & The Beast is considered to be Broadway’s first legitimate family show.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (and the Broadway Junior version), then, is a great opportunity to introduce students (and their families) to musical theatre. With a well-known score and accessible themes, it’s certainly a title to do at least once. However, producing this musical is not without its challenges. Disney remained tight-lipped about their production budget, but significant design decisions and special effects were used to bring the transformation to life. A lot of these transformations can be solved with Scenic Projections, with stunning recreations of the black forest, and a palace that transforms as Beast’s curse is broken.
We hope this article gave you some great ideas for producing your next Disney musical at your school! To learn more about what Broadway Media’s Scenic Projections Animated Digital Scenery packages can do for you, visit this link. You can license the performance rights for these shows from Music Theatre International.