Top 9 Disney Movies that Should Get a Stage Adaptation

Taylor Lockhart


Photo by xiaomingphotography/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by xiaomingphotography/iStock / Getty Images

Disney has become a household name in books, video games, theme parks, and in the cinema,  it seems to go unrivaled having released 5 out of the 10 highest grossing movies of last year. Their presence in the world of theatre and on Broadway is also something to behold. The Lion King is the third longest running Broadway musical of all time and the pro shot of Newsies is one of the highest grossing Fathom events of all time. Disney Theatricals is constantly brainstorming new ideas and movies to bring to the stage from obvious choices like smash hit Frozen to their latest addition to the catalog, Freaky Friday. Today however, I want to brainstorm my own ideas as I went through every Disney movie ever made and here are the top 9 Disney movies that I think should have a stage adaptation. Movies that already have a current musical adaptation even if it’s not on Broadway or in the Theatrical catalog do not count, so no Tangled or Toy Story or etc. However, musicals that currently only have junior version do… so with that all said. My name is Taylor and let’s begin.

9. Enchanted (2007)
My first choice and the number 9 spot is the 2007 movie Enchanted. It’s such an underrated Disney movie as is, and while I don’t think a musical version would be a huge hit on Broadway, I could see the story along with new and engaging songs from renowned composer Alan Menken who composed the original soundtrack making a popular licensing choice for high schools and community theatres.

8. Fantasia (1940)
So, hear me out on this...clearly a Fantasia musical isn’t a great idea, but a highly theatrical concert may be. The concert would feature tons of dance specifically ballet and large movements in time with the music to tell the story all the while playing instruments. Think similarly to what we saw in the 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd, of course no singing just the instruments. I mean there are a ton of cool ideas that could come out of turning classical music into a live visual event on stage and at the very least if not finding a place on Broadway the concert would be a huge hit in high schools and other venues. To me personally, Fantasia would allow Disney to reach into a more highbrow area they haven’t explored before and create a really cool and entertaining stage production that people would love for all the same reasons the movie was initially a hit.

7. Tall Tale (1995)
I remember watching Tall Tale in 8th grade and the story is essentially a super cool western that involves a young boy meeting Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Paul Bunyan and saving the old west or maybe the world...I honestly don’t remember but the movie is one I’d definitely recommend, and as you watch it pay attention to just how cool of a country style musical it would make. Its obscurity could cause it to do poor on Broadway if it even found itself there at all but as far as I know a musical based on America’s old Tall Tales has never been done before and has quite a lot of potential especially in community theatres and high schools.

6. Mulan (1998)
Mulan already has a strong powerful song that would make an incredible showstopper and maybe even the Act 1 Finale. There already is a Mulan Jr. and while we may never see it on Broadway, I hope at least to see a full length version in the future. There really isn’t much more to say here. Mulan would make a good musical for all the same reasons Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast have.

5. Iron Will (1994)
Iron Will is an unknown Disney movie but has the ability to be an incredibly interesting show on stage. The dog sledding story features a young boy who is put against the toughest and most grueling environments in order to win a bobsledding race and save his family's farm. The movie is actually incredibly down to earth for Disney and could allow a nice realistic musical that strays from many of Disney’s clichés in similar ways to the hit Newsies. Imagine a bobsled in the middle of the stage with fierce snow blowing around it and you have what would turn out to be a very visually engaging musical that would only also need some great music to match the tone of the story to make it what I think would be an unexpected hit.

4. Moana (2016)
One of Disney’s latest musical, Moana, already has the musical backbone of Broadway’s most popular man, Lin Manuel Miranda. With great music and an engaging story, I would say it’s pretty unlikely we won’t see a stage adaptation soon, I just hope it doesn’t get the immediate Frozen treatment and a few other older Disney properties have the time to shine first.

3. Coco (2017)
Coco is incredible, and “Remember Me” is one of the best songs I have ever heard in my life. The background of the land of the dead would come to life beautifully on stage and with a bit more songs and figuring out how to make people look like skeletons in charming and non-frightening ways, Coco on stage and on Broadway would be stunning and I really hope something or another is currently in the works already after the films massive success

2. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Honestly, why hasn’t Hocus Pocus had a musical adaptation yet? The movie is a cult classic and is as popular now as it was when it was released. It would quickly become a favorite for the Halloween season and probably top Little Shop of Horrors and Sweeney Todd for the most common musicals done in October. The few songs in the movie are already extremely well known and just, watch Hocus Pocus and tell me it is not the perfect storm for a Broadway smash hit, from costumes, scenery, music, and well everything. It’s already one that people constantly clamor for an adaptation. I mean the only other musical Disney movie without a stage adaptation more fit for one is...

1. Hercules (1997)
I got to talk to a representative of Disney Theatricals while at ThesFest last month and I asked him, “Is there ever talk of a Hercules Musical”. He responded by telling me that it is brought up at every single meeting. Alan Menken wants Hercules, every friend I know when I asked them what Disney movie should get a musical almost immediately say Hercules. There are hundreds of articles talking about a Hercules musical. Everybody and their mother wants Hercules on Broadway and for good reason. “Zero to Hero” would be an incredible Act 1 Finale and “Go the Distance” is one of Menken’s very best “I want” songs, if maybe just a notch below “Out There” from Hunchback. Imagine show stopping Hades number, I am breaking into a sweat just thinking of everything this musical could pull off and do extremely well. Its popularity is still as you can see through the roof and a Hercules musical at this point isn’t a matter of if, but when. One could hope that it’s the next project after Frozen begins its tour, but who really knows.

Into the Woods (2014)
Just a bit of an extra really quick, remember that 2014 movie, Into the Woods. Yeah, the music is a bit weird and a little unknown, but the story is pretty cool and I just have a feeling it would be a hit on Broadway…

This joke was terrible and I’m sorry.


Did you agree with my list? Perhaps you have a musical you think is more destined then any of these, feel free to comment down below and I am trying a new thing with this top 10’s please let me know what you think. I promise you I won’t do these too terribly often. Anyways, thank you for reading and make check back every Monday and Thursday for new theatre related posts and especially make sure to check back this Thursday because I can assure you something very exciting and you will just have to wait to find out what that is… See you in a few weeks and thank you for reading.