Reviews are rolling in for New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse production of Disney's Hercules, which officially opened March 1 after beginning performances February 16.
The production follows the stage adaptation's 2019 world premiere via The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park, helmed by Obie winner Lear deBessonet, who returns to direct the Paper Mill staging. Performances continue at the New Jersey venue through March 19.
The cast is led by Bradley Gibson (The Lion King, A Bronx Tale The Musical) as Hercules, Tony winner Shuler Hensley (The Music Man, Oklahoma!) as Hades, Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton) reprising his performance from the 2019 world premiere run as Phil, and Isabelle McCalla (Aladdin, The Prom) as Meg.
These artists are joined by Jeff Blumenkrantz (Bright Star) as Panic and Reggie De Leon (Aladdin) as Pain, alongside the Muses: Charity Angél Dawson (Waitress) as Clio, Tiffany Mann (Waitress) as Calliope, Anastacia McCleskey (Caroline, or Change) as Thalia, Destinee Rea (The Book of Mormon) as Terpsichore, and Rashidra Scott (Company) as Melpomene.
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Playbill will continue to update as reviews come in.
The ensemble includes Kathryn Allison (Company) as Despina, Allyson Kaye Daniel (1776) as Aunt Tithesis/Lachesis, Lucia Giannetta (A Bronx Tale: The Musical) as Atropos, Jesse Nager (Motown: The Musical) as Nessus, Kristen Faith Oei (The King & I) as Hera, Dennis Stowe (Aladdin) as Zeus, and Anne Fraser Thomas (Paper Mill's Sister Act) as Clotho with Joshua Buscher (Kinky Boots), Marcus Cobb (In the Heights film), Zachary Downer (Hello, Dolly!), Ryan Fitzgerald (Matilda at the Muny), Kendall LeShanti (Lifetime’s Bring It), Chani Maisonet (Ain’t Too Proud), Skye Mattox (Carousel), Jason W. McCollum (Taft Theater’s Cinderella), Erin Moore (Shuffle Along), JJ Niemann (The Book of Mormon), Gabrielle Reid (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Adam Roberts (Pippin), Ben Roseberry (The Lion King), Christine Shepard (Head Over Heels), Chiara Trentalange (Girl from the North Country), and Lamont Walker II (MJ: The Musical).
Hercules features music by EGOT winner Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast), lyrics by Tony winner David Zippel (City of Angels, Mulan), and a book by Tony winner Robert Horn (Tootsie) and Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, based on the Disney film written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Donald McEnery, Bob Shaw, and Irene Mecchi and directed by Clements and Musker.
The Paper Mill production also has music supervision and arrangements by Michael Kosarin with orchestrations by Danny Troob and Joseph Joubert, dance music arrangements by Mark Hummel, music direction by Ted Arthur, choreography by Chase Brock and Tanisha Scott, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Kai Harada, puppet design and direction by James Ortiz, hair and wig design by Mia M. Neal, and special effects design by Jeremy Chernick. Holly Coombs is the production stage manager, and casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
The score features hits from the film, including the Oscar-nominated “Go the Distance,” as well as “Zero to Hero” and “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love),” along with new songs written for the stage.
The musical is produced by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions.