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
“Hollywood! Hollywood! A Star-Studded Spectacular” was the first live show to ever take the stage at Theater of the Stars. It 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 1990 Dick Tracy film. 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 went into production on May 21, 1990, before the film version even hit theaters.
The 28-minute musical live show featured 1940’s inspired costumes and cityscapes with a primary color scheme. It was a simple crime caper 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.
In the story, the King of Balonia and his wife were the owners of the world’s largest gem. They brought it to New York to display in the City Museum. Big Boy, the show’s villain, had a girlfriend named Breathless Mahoney. She refused to accept his proposal unless she got that giant gem.
Big Boy had two of his cronies, Flattop and Mumbles, arrange a heist to steal the gem. Upon arriving at the museum for the big unveiling, everyone realized the diamond disappeared.
In the next scene, Dick Tracy was sitting at Mike’s Diner getting ready to propose to his girlfriend. A call to investigate the missing gem on his wrist radio interrupted those plans. He headed to Club Ritz to find Big Boy, Mumbles, and Flattop.
Inside, the Club Ritz girls were performing with Breathless Mahoney. One 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. The gem changed hands several times before Tracy finally recovered it from one of Big Boy’s ditzy accomplices.
The musical show ended with all the crooks going to jail as Dick Tracy rushed to his next case. Some songs 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, 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. It ended 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. The crew has since been the stars of many shows and attractions at Hollywood Studios. However, the show did not become 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 runs daily at the park. It allows guests to “relive the romance and magic” in a musical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Belle, the Beast, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Chip, and Mrs. Potts 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 ran three times nightly and featured highlights from some of Pixar’s greatest film scores. 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!