Yesterday, news spread that a musical production of Anastasia is making its Broadway debut 20 years after its release. Not only is the musical "inspired" by the animated feature, but some of the original track listings from the Oscar-nominated film will make their way onto the stage.
The 1997 animated film by Fox Animation Studios is one of the few non-Disney animations that still warrants the term "classic," and children of the '80s and '90s were quick to celebrate news of adaptation. But it begs the question: What's next?
From The Lion King to Aladdin, Disney is no stranger to seeing its films adapted to the stage. But I propose there are a few non-Disney animated musicals that deserve the same treatment. Here are some suggestions of animated movies that should be made into Broadway spectacles:
1. Thumbelina (1994)
Thumbelina would make a fantastic Broadway show. Not only is there enough nostalgia to power it, but playing with scale and perspective with the props and set pieces would make it quite the sight to behold.
While the songs aren't known to be the best work from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman — Thumbelina was the first animated film to win a Razzie thanks to the song "Marry the Mole" — it has enough to carry a stage production. Throw some new original numbers in and we're in business. Heck, let's bring back Charo while we're at it.
2. FernGully (1992)
Before we even start seriously discussing Avatar: The Musical, the theater world should pay tribute to Avatar's true predecessor with a live production of FernGully. Similar to Thumbelina, the tiny fairies and their vast jungle would make a striking and lively setting.
It's tricky casting actors who were originally voiced by the likes of Robin Williams and Tim Curry, but there are definitely enough talented actors out there to take on the challenge. If James Monroe Iglehart can pull off the Genie in Aladdin, I think Batty Koda might be in his wheelhouse.
3. An American Tail (1986)
An American Tail is undoubtedly one of the best movies to come from Don Bluth and Gary Goldman's production team, and even went on to beat Disney's The Great Mouse Detective in the box office.
Despite being largely considered "too dark" by many critics, the struggles of young Fievel and his journey to find freedom in America would lend itself well to a stage adaptation. Imagine Oliver!, but with mice. Sounds like a recipe for Broadway success to me.
4. Rock-a-Doodle (1992)
Alright, I'll be the first to admit that Rock-a-Doodle is a deep cut compared to some of the others on this list. But a live musical about an anthropomorphic rooster with the voice and hips of Elvis Presley would be great for all Guys and Dolls fans out there.
With some fresh songs, kick-ass choreography and the right casting — I'm picturing Nathan Lane as Grand Duke of Owls an Kristin Chenoweth as Goldie — Rock-a-Doodle could be a real contender on Broadway.
5. The Swan Princess (1994)
Though widely considered a box office bomb — partially because its theatrical release coincided with the holiday season re-release of The Lion King — I loved The Swan Princess growing up. The music was incredibly sappy, but she had some of the best animated animal companions in Jean-Bob, Speed and Puffin.
Can we please see Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess of Phantom of the Opera play the roles of Derek and Odette? That would make my musical theater-loving heart explode.
The Broadway production of Anastasia will open on April 24, 2017.