LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The undersea world that charmed audiences around the world in the Disney-Pixar smash-hit film "Finding Nemo" will come to life in an all-new musical stage show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Preview performances begin in November with the premiere set for January 2007.
Featuring original songs by Tony Award-winning "Avenue Q" co-composer-creator Robert Lopez and a cappella musical "Along the Way" co-creator Kristen Anderson-Lopez, "Finding Nemo-The Musical" will immerse Walt Disney World guests in the story of Marlin and Nemo -- an overprotective clownfish father and his curious son -- through a dazzling production that combines puppets, dancers, aerialists and animated backdrops.
The visually inventive show represents the first time Disney has taken a non-musical animated feature, as well as the first Pixar film, and transformed it into an original musical production. It will be presented in the newly enclosed 1,500-seat Theater in the Wild, completely redone to accommodate first-class theatrical productions.
"In 'Finding Nemo,' directors Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and the talented team at Pixar created a film filled with unforgettable characters and a story rich with honest emotions that resonated with audiences everywhere," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "The movie was a worldwide box-office success and an Academy Award winner.
"We are truly excited to bring this beloved story to life at Disney's Animal Kingdom in this live musical spectacular."
During "Finding Nemo-The Musical," Theater in the Wild will become a magical undersea environment through innovative lighting, sound, special effects, animated projections, and the theatrical puppetry of Michael Curry, who co-designed the richly detailed character puppets seen in the Broadway version of Disney's "The Lion King."
Principal characters such as Marlin, Nemo and Dory will be represented by live performers operating animated puppets. Some puppets are larger-than-life -- such as Crush, the cool sea turtle, who is nearly the size of a Volkswagen, and Nigel the pelican, who stands 22 feet tall.
Other characters will be portrayed by a diverse array of puppetry styles, including rod, Bunraku and shadow. Tap dancing sharks, puppets riding bicycles, and a punk rock routine by Bruce the shark create theatrical magic and fun throughout the big blue world.
"It is our goal to bring the undersea 'Nemo' characters to Disney's Animal Kingdom in a live setting in a way that captures what is truly special about the film," Rasulo continued. "This production will meet that challenge in a dynamic and wholly original way to bring us into the fantastic ocean world."
The director for the new show, Peter Brosius, is artistic director of The Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, winner of the 2003 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The Broadway show "A Year with Frog and Toad," nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award, originated at The Children's Theatre Company.
"Finding Nemo-The Musical" is the first major musical produced for Walt Disney World Resort by Disney Creative Entertainment, which has received acclaim for its productions around the world, including "Disney's Aladdin" (at Disneyland Resort in California), "Festival of the Lion King" (at Hong Kong Disneyland), "Twice Charmed" (on the Disney Cruise Line) and "The Golden Mickeys" (at Hong Kong Disneyland and on the Disney Cruise Line).
"It's exciting to be involved in projects that introduce a new generation of future theatergoers to the work of internationally recognized creative talent through Broadway-caliber short-form shows that all audiences can appreciate," said Anne Hamburger, executive vice president of Disney Creative Entertainment. "Millions of children experience live theater for the first time during a visit to a Disney park."
"Finding Nemo-The Musical" tells the story of a father clownfish, Marlin, and his son, Nemo, each on a separate journey that ultimately teaches them how to love and understand each other. The two have been separated -- and Marlin will stop at nothing to get his son back, facing undersea challenges with his new friend Dory, who swim with the sharks, take on the jellyfish, and ride the current with Crush the turtle. Meanwhile, Nemo, relocated to a fish tank in Sydney, makes new friends who teach him that he's stronger than he thinks. When news of his father's heroic journey reaches the tank, Nemo is inspired to do whatever is necessary to escape the tank and see his father again.
"Finding Nemo-The Musical" is a 30-minute show, performed several times daily. Admission to Theater in the Wild is included with regular Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park admission. Guest information is available by calling 407/824-4321 or by visiting disneyworld.com.
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Oct 20, 2006 /