Disney Ends ‘Frozen’ Broadway Run Due to Coronavirus
Some things never change. But some things do.
Whenever Broadway reopens for business — something that won’t happen until at least September — it will be without at least some of the shows that were running when New York’s theater industry shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we learned the first current musical that will not continue in September, or whenever Broadway returns, and it’s something of a surprise: Disney’s adaptation of its beloved animated film Frozen.
In a letter to his staff obtained by The New York Times, Disney Theatrical Productions president Thomas Schumacher wrote that “this difficult decision was made for several reasons but primarily because we believe that three Disney productions will be one too many titles to run successfully in Broadway’s new landscape.” Disney’s other Broadway musicals right now are Aladdin and its long-running version of The Lion King.
Despite the massively popular film series, along with a sequel that premiered last fall and grossed $1.5 billion worldwide, the Frozen musical was the weakest of those current Disney shows; the Times notes that after getting shut out at the Tony Awards, its ticket sales were “averaging about $1 million” a week in February, compared to the show’s peak of $2.6 million per week. And Disney as a whole has been greatly affected by the pandemic, with the company’s theme parks and cruise lines almost entirely shut down for the foreseeable future and its studio’s biggest blockbusters all on hold until at least July.
For now, the plan is that The Lion King and Aladdin will reopen on Broadway when allowed to do so by state authorities. And Disney does have other musicals in development, including stage productions of The Jungle Book and Hercules. Still, it’s curtains on Broadway for Anna and Elsa.
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