Honk! Have Their Sights Set on DisneyDate: 22 February 2000
The creators of the musical Honk The Ugly Duckling which surprised everyone by taking the Best Musical gong at the recent Olivier awards, believe their win may lead to a commission from Disney, whose much-lauded The Lion King had to make do with Best Choreographer and Best Costumes.
Anthony Drewe, who wrote book and lyrics for Honk! said he and collaborator George Stiles had been having 'a flirtation' with Disney Studios for some time about the possibility of writing a film score. 'Hopefully this will make them sit up and take notice,' he said.
Even before the award was announced, Honk! - based on Hans Christian Andersen's Ugly Duckling story - was already an international hit, with productions either already under way or scheduled for Tokyo, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Cape Town, and Tel Aviv, where it has been translated into Hebrew. A further five productions are planned for North America.
'It's really taken off since Trevor Nunn decided to do it as the National's Christmas show,' explained Anthony Drewe. 'I badgered him for nearly two years to consider it. He kept writing back saying he really liked the show but couldn't find a slot for it in the National's programme. Then I suddenly got a call saying they were going to do put it on in the Olivier.'
Another Drewe and Stiles collaboration, a new version of Peter Pan, recently premiered in Copenhagen, and they are talking to the producer Cameron Mackintosh about reviving an earlier show, Just So, based on stories by Rudyard Kipling. Like Honk! the original production of Just So in 1989 was directed by Julia Mackenzie.
As if that wasn't enough to be going on with, they are hard at work on a new musical comedy, A Frost At Midnight, based on a little known French play about an ill-assorted bunch of rural workmen putting on a passion play in their local corn exchange one Christmas. They were hoping Sam Mendes was going to direct it, but it now looks as if his fortunes may be altered by a rather special award, too.