• Thursday, September 24, 2020
The Evolution of Disney World’s Theater of the Stars

The Evolution of Disney World’s Theater of the Stars

When Disney-MGM Studios opened in May 1989, one of the attractions that was up and running for guests was Theater of the Stars, an outdoor venue that has housed a variety of different live shows over the last 31 years. From old Hollywood to Disney princesses, that stage has seen a wide range of entertainment.

Hollywood! Hollywood! A Star-Studded Spectacular

The first-ever live show to take the stage at Theater of the Stars was a show called “Hollywood! Hollywood! A Star-Studded Spectacular” that kicked off on the day of the park’s grand opening.

The show began with a performance of “Hooray for Hollywood” which featured the cast singing and dancing before they welcomed Mickey Mouse to the stage to offer up a history lesson on all things Hollywood.

Mickey and his crew starred in a variety of scenes that showcased film styles from over the years including silent films, talkies, opera, Westerns, romance, dance, International, Shakespeare, action, and more.

The Star-Studded Spectacular featured a medley of iconic songs through history with dance performances from Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Minnie, Tigger, Roger Rabbit, and an amazing crew of Disney dancers.

Hollywood! Hollywood! was not an overly successful stage show, it only ran at Theater of the Stars for a few months before ending on August 31, 1989.

Swing, Swing, Swing

The show that followed Hollywood! Hollywood! was even less popular than the “star-studded spectacular.” Swing, Swing, Swing, had a VERY short run at Theater of the Stars, lasting for only a few DAYS! It debuted on April 7, 1990, and ended for good on April 18, 1990.

Dick Tracy Starring in a Diamond Double Cross

Next up at Theater of the Stars was a musical production inspired by a Dick Tracy film that debuted in May 1990. Dick Tracy Starring in a Diamond Double Cross was actually the second choice for a Dick Tracy-themed attraction at Walt Disney World. Originally, the plan was to build a ride called Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers. Instead, the stage show was rushed into production on May 21, 1990 before the film version even hit theaters.

The 28-minute show was a musical live show featuring 1940’s inspired costumes and cityscapes with a primary color scheme. The simple crime caper was built off of an early draft of the film’s script, some rough cut video sequences, a few photos and concept drawings, and one early music track.

The King of Balonia and his wife were the owners of the world’s largest gem and brought it to New York to display in the City Museum. The show’s villain, named Big Boy, had a girlfriend named Breathless Mahoney that refused to marry him unless she got that giant gem.

Big Boy had two of his cronies, Flattop and Mumbles, arrange a heist to steal the gem and when everyone got to the museum for the big unveiling the diamond was gone.

In the next scene, Dick Tracy was sitting at Mike’s Diner getting ready to propose to his girlfriend when he got the call to investigate the missing gem on his wrist radio. He headed to Club Ritz to find Big Boy, Mumbles, and Flattop.

Inside the club the Club Ritz girls were performing with Breathless Mahoney, who tried to flirt with Tracy in an effort to distract him while she grabbed the gem from Big Boy. Dick Tracy called for a raid and a major chase scene ensued, with the gem changing hands several times before Tracy finally recovered it from one of Big Boy’s ditzy accomplices.

The musical show ended with all the crooks being taken to jail and Dick Tracy rushing off to his next case. Some of the songs that were featured in the production included the main theme “Calling Dick Tracy,” “Hey Big Spender,” and “I Won’t Dance (Don’t Ask Me).”

Dick Tracy Starring in a Diamond Double Cross ran at Theater to the Stars until February 16, 1991. An identical show took place at Disneyland’s Videopolis until December 31, 1990.

Hollywood’s Pretty Woman

In September 1991, the next show to take over Theaters of the Stars debuted. Hollywood’s Pretty Woman featured a variety of different characters including Roger Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and several Muppets.

Roger Rabbit played a world-famous producer from Maroon Studios, who stopped by Club Hollywood for a visit. Club owner Mickey, with the help of Minnie and Goofy, tried to impress Roger with a show that paid tribute to women in Hollywood. The production included nods to Jeanette MacDonald, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Carmen Miranda, and Madonna before ending with a surprise grand finale starring Miss Piggy and Kermit.

Hollywood’s Pretty Woman was actually the first Walt Disney World attraction to feature the muppets, who have since been the stars of many shows and attractions at Hollywood Studios. However, the show was not a huge hit and ended for good on November 3, 1991.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

Theater of the Stars became home to Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage on November 22, 1991. The Broadway-style performance, which still runs daily at the park, allows you to “relive the romance and magic” in a musical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Belle, the Beast, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Chip, Mrs. Potts, and other characters take the stage in front of amazing scenery for a 25-minute spectacle inspired by the tale as old as time.

The Music of Pixar LIVE!

In addition to Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, the theater hosted The Music of Pixar LIVE! for a limited summer series in 2017. The musical production was held three times nightly and featured highlights from some of Pixar’s greatest film scores. Along with popular hits from movies like Cars 3 and Toy Story, a variety of characters made appearances on stage including Woody and Jessie, Mike and Sulley, The Incredibles, and more.

For more Vintage Disney, read about how the Monster Sound Show eventually became Mickey Shorts Theater! Check out the current roster of live shows at Disney World in person with discount Disney tickets from Tickets2You!

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