Disney’s next movie-to-theater adaptation is arriving in an unexpected format. After premiering big, yet conventional, movie-to-theater adaptations like Frozen and Aladdin on Broadway (and stranding that adaptation of Hunchback out of town), Disney is bringing Hercules to Central Park for a short run this summer. An adaptation of the 1997 movie musical will appear as part of the Public Theater’s programming at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in a short run this summer from August 31 to September 8. The adaptation is directed by Lear deBessonet with a book by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography from Chase Brock. Alan Menken and David Zippel wrote the original music and lyrics to Hercules and are writing new music for the production, which is being presented thanks to a special arrangement with Disney Theatricals, the people behind all those other Disney shows. Casting has not been announced. Good luck to all the theater bros and cool alternative theater girls who want to play Hercules and Meg.
Hercules is premiering as part of the theater’s Public Works initiative, which incorporates New York community members into productions alongside professional performers. Traditionally, it explores classics, such as last year’s musical adaptation of Twelfth Night. “Many generations of our Public Works families have embraced Disney musicals as a shared American canon,” deBessonet, who is also the Public Works founder, said in a statement. “Hercules’ roots in Greek mythology, infused with soulful gospel music, make it a natural extension of Public Works’ radical exploration of humanity through Shakespeare and the classics. We’re excited to see how this Public Works production will uncover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a hero and how true strength is derived, not from the greatness of one person, but the transformative power of community.” In addition to Hercules, the Public Theater will also present productions of Much Ado About Nothing directed by Kenny Leon and Coriolanus directed by Daniel Sullivan as part of its Shakespeare in the Park program this summer.