By Zach Johnson
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is opening soon in “Pooh” York City!
Performances begin at Theatre Row on October 21—but before the curtain rises, D23 is giving fans an exclusive first look at whimsical production photos taken by Matthew Murphy! Featuring songs by the Sherman Brothers’ and by A.A. Milne, this beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation is set deep in the Hundred Acre Wood and told with stunning life-size puppetry through the eyes of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their very best friends: Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Owl… and Tigger, too!
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation was developed and is presented by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller, whose mind-blowing puppetry is omnipresent in Paddington Gets in a Jam and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. Due to an overwhelming response, Rockefeller Productions recently opened a new block of weekend tickets for the highly anticipated production at Times Square’s Theatre Row, located at 410 West 42nd Street. Tickets are now available at WinnieThePoohShow.com.
“I am thrilled to be entrusted to create a new classic for the stage, for new audiences as they join our adventure into the Hundred Acre Wood,” Rockefeller said when Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation was announced in May. “And what a grand adventure!”
“Disney’s Winnie the Pooh material is so incredibly rich, that after more than half a century, I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t been profoundly moved or feels a personal connection with the wonderful characters of Pooh,” Rockefeller continued. “The question we posed ourselves when creating this intimate musical adaptation was, ‘How do we bring Pooh from the screen and onto the stage in an entirely fresh and new way, yet one that still pays homage to the deep canon of Winnie the Pooh iconography?’ The answer was easy… well, conceptually easy, in theory. We needed to create incredible, brilliant, and amazing puppetry that makes it impossible to believe the characters aren’t real. Audiences can expect their hearts will be captivated by the characters, and their imaginations will soar with these life-size puppets.”
Winnie the Pooh has been enjoyed by millions of fans ever since 1926 when author A.A. Milne first chronicled the adventures of Christopher Robin’s friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. The books, featuring illustrations by English illustrator E.H. Shephard, have sold over 50 million copies worldwide. The theatrical rights to the stories were acquired by Disney in 1961, with an original intent to produce a feature film. But, after production began, Walt Disney decided to make featurettes instead. The three featurettes were subsequently incorporated into the feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977). It was the last film in the Disney canon in which Walt had personal involvement. The first featurette, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), was released during his lifetime; Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) was still in development. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh has since become one of the best-loved and most successful franchises in history.
The Sherman Brothers are the multi-talented Academy Award®– and Grammy® Award-winning American songwriting duo of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman. Inducted as Disney Legends in 1990, the Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriting team in film history, including for the Disney classics Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). The Sherman Brothers worked directly with Walt on two of the first Winnie the Pooh featurettes: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, which garnered a Grammy Award nomination, and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. They won a Grammy Award for the third featurette, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1977). All three featurettes were incorporated into the 1977 musical film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The brothers also wrote songs for Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore (1983) and The Tigger Movie (2000), with their music also featured in Christopher Robin (2018).
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is produced in association with Disney Theatrical Productions. Rockefeller Productions embraced the challenge of re-imagining Disney’s Winnie the Pooh for a new audience by bringing it to life on stage in puppet form.