A 'Hercules' Musical Is Officially Happening & You Won't Believe Who's Playing Hades
Just like Hercules went from zero to hero in no time flat, the Disney version of the Greek myth is going from screen to stage very soon. According to People, a Hercules musical is heading to the stage in August for a limited run, featuring an original cast member in a brand new — and fan-favorite — role. Good Trouble star Roger Bart, who provided the singing voice for Hercules in the cult-favorite Disney movie, will take on the role of villainous Hades for a series of performances at the Public Theater in New York's Central Park, beginning on August 31.
Bart celebrated the news shortly after it was announced on Friday, June 21, on Twitter, writing that it's "Not often you get to play the hero and then the villain years later." The Off-Broadway production will also feature another Disney tie-in, as Jelani Alladin, who originated the role of Kristoff in the Broadway production of Frozen, will play the musical's titular role. Describing the role as a "dream come true," on his Instagram Story, Alladin thanked fans for their support as he gets ready to bring the mythological hero to the stage. "I am incredibly moved by all the love I'm receiving today," he wrote. "This show is for the people, by the people and about the people!"
The actor will be joined by Smash alum Krysta Rodriguez as Megara, Tamika Lawrence, Ramona Keller, and Rema Webb as Muses Calliope, Thalia, and Terpischore, and James Monroe Iglehart — who won a Tony Award in 2014 for his performance as the Genie in the Broadway adaptation of Aladdin — as satyr Phil, Hercules' coach and friend. Clearly, Disney and the Public Theater have picked people who can go the distance and bring the beloved film to life in the best way possible.
The musical adaptation will feature all of the film's iconic songs — including "Zero to Hero," "I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)," "The Gospel Truth,” and the Oscar-nominated "Go the Distance" — written by Alan Menken and David Zippel, along with some brand new numbers created exclusively for the stage. The book has also been updated for its new incarnation, courtesy of Rent: Live's Kristoffer Diaz.
Sadly for fans, People reported that there are currently no plans to move the Hercules musical over to Broadway after it closes on September 8, though Disney has mounted adaptations of many of its iconic films over the years, so it's entirely possible that Hercules could join Frozen, The Lion King, and Aladdin on the Great White Way sometime soon.
After playing Phil on the Delacorte Theater stage, Iglehart will join another theater legend, friend Lin-Manuel Miranda, when he returns to Broadway his freestyle hip-hop group Freestyle Love Supreme. Miranda founded the group back in 2004 with Hamilton director Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale, and Iglehart has often joined the group for performances around New York over the past few years.
According to Playbill, the show's "core cast" will consist of Andrew Bancroft, Arthur Lewis, Bill Sherman, Chris Sullivan, Anthony Veneziale and Utkarsh Ambudkar, though Miranda, Iglehart and Hamilton alumni Chris Jackson and Daveed Diggs are all expected to stop by and perform during the run. "It’s an entirely made up Broadway show. You don’t know who’s going to show up," Miranda told Jimmy Fallon recently, when he announced Freestyle Love's Broadway run on The Tonight Show. "Black Thought might show up. I might show up one night. You don’t know what’s going to happen," he said.
With so many exciting things headed to the stage — not to mention all of the live-action Disney films hitting theaters soon — it's a great time to be a theater kid and a Disney fanatic.