I love to sit in a darkened theater, eagerly anticipating the rising of the curtain, with my eyes wide and my ears piqued as I wait to be transported to another world. Movies are great, but there is nothing as viscerally entertaining as live theater. And for me, the apogee of entertainment is the Broadway musical.
Disney grants unprecedented access to its Broadway best, when Jesse Tyler Ferguson hosts Backstage With Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years. The special, airing on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 7pm ET takes viewers behind the scenes with the Broadway casts of The Lion King, Aladdin and the North American Tour of Newsies.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson is best known for playing Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom, Modern Family, but the actor honed his chops on the Great White Way, and originated the role of Leaf Coneybear in the Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
In the special, Ferguson takes viewers on a journey through the creation of Disney’s eight Broadway musicals: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, AIDA, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies and Aladdin and offers unbelievable access to the behind the scenes working of major stage productions. It is a rare opportunity to get to know the actors without their makeup and costumes, and get to know how and why they chose their careers. And who doesn’t delight in watching the frenetic energy of life in the wings? It’s like watching a beautiful ant-farm, each participant has a specific task that must be executed in perfect synchronicity to endure the success of the entire unit.
Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years, also features music from the Disney on Broadway catalog, including special musical performances from Sir Elton John, Glee‘s Darren Criss, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen (both from ABC’s Nashville), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins) and Adam Jacobs (Aladdin).
Toni Braxton, Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell join the roster of entertainers and Broadway talent sharing memories and anecdotes from the past two decades of Disney on Broadway. With the success of adaptions of beloved Disney movies into successful musicals, as Disney celebrates 20 years on Broadway, what Disney movie will jump from screen to stage next?
Backstage With Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years > ABC > Sunday, Dec. 14 @ 7pm ET
Jesse Tyler Ferguson image © ABC/ Rick Rowell
Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio image © ABC/ Katherine Bomboy-Thornton
The Lion King cast image © ABC/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua