The claws are out on Broadway, pitting family-friendly Disney against Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The Great White Way brouhaha began Tuesday afternoon when “The Lion King,” Disney’s crown-jewel musical, announced that the iconic “Circle of Life” number that starts the long-running hit was filmed using a virtual reality breakthrough. The taping marked “the first time the technology had been used inside a Broadway theater” to capture a 360-degree video.
“The Lion King” announced that the iconic “Circle of Life” number that starts the long-running hit was filmed using 360-degree video technology.
The footage, the company boasted, “has been compiled to create the first-ever virtual reality experience of a theatrical production number captured exactly as it is seen on stage.” The video is set to debut on Wired.com on Wednesday morning.
Not so fast, howled Sir Andrew, who’s famous for composing such shows as “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera” and whose new show, “School of Rock,” is in previews on Broadway.
“Just as there is no debate about who were the first anthropomorphized felines on Broadway, there should be no debate about which show was the first to use 360-degree technology. Big cats shouldn’t be copycats!” Sir Andrew Webber said in response to Disney’s boast.
In response to the Mouse House boast, he wrote: “Just as there is no debate about who were the first anthropomorphized felines on Broadway, there should be no debate about which show was the first to use 360-degree technology. Big cats shouldn’t be copycats!”
A press release for Webber’s show was issued as a reminder that “School of Rock” “released a fully immersive 360-degree music video” for “You’re in the Band,” a number from the show based on the Jack Black movie, on Oct. 14.
Tom Schumacher, head of Disney Theatricals, fired off a note to Webber, which a press rep for the company shared with the Daily News.
In the letter Schumacher states that “The Lion King” stands by its announcement.
“The Lion King” filmed the song on stage, just as it is done at every performance, he noted. “School of Rock,” Schumacher added, staged their number “for the camera, in a classroom and captured a delightful commercial.”
“These two videos are fundamentally divergent,” Schumacher added. “Thanks for keeping up with ‘The Lion King’ and best of luck with ‘SOR.’”
It remains to be seen if the parties will see eye-to-eye. But at least it’ll keep the respective publicity machines purring.