The 1997 movie Hercules is not true to the Greek Mythology that it follows. But it’s such an enjoyably strange and fun film that we find we don’t care too much. The music is fun, the characters are fun, this is just a fun movie with a lot of winks and nods toward that particular pantheon.
Look, “I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)” is one of the best songs in the whole of Disney Films. You can fight me on this.
When news broke that Disney was testing out a Hercules musical, we were delighted.
Today, they’ve set the cast. One boy, there are a lot of former Disney actors in this thing. We’re here for it.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Jelani Alladin, who originated Kristoff in the Broadway version of Frozen, will play Hercules. James Monroe Iglehart, who originated Genie in the Broadway version of Aladdin, will play Hercules’ satyr hero tutor, Phil. Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening) will play Meg and Roger Bart, who provided Hercules’ singing voice in the 1997 movie, will play Hades.
Last, but not least, we have the Muses. Tamika Lawrence (Come From Away) will play the leader Calliope with Ramona Keller playing Thalia and Rema Webb (The Color Purple) as Terpischore.
The musical will feature songs from the film such as “Zero to Hero” along with new material. It will be directed by Lear deBessonet (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) will direct.
On the musical, deBessonet, who is a founder of Public Works, said, “Many generations of our Public Works families have embraced Disney musicals as a shared American canon. Hercules’ roots in Greek mythology, infused with soulful gospel music, make it a natural extension of Public Works’ radical exploration of humanity through Shakespeare and the classics. We’re excited to see how this Public Works production will uncover the deeper meaning of what it means to be a hero and how true strength is derived, not from the greatness of one person, but the transformative power of community.”
The musical will be seen as a special engagement as a free run at Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park from August 31st to September 8th.