Hamburg to host world premiere of Disney's "Hercules" musical

20 February 2024
"Hercules" may yet break EUR 1 billion-mark set by Stage Entertainment musicals in 2022

The City of Hamburg, not New York or London, is gearing up to host the world premiere of the Disney musical "Hercules" on March 24, 2024 in the Stage Theater Neue Flora. "This is the Disney Theatrical Group’s clear vote of confidence in Hamburg as a centre of musicals," said a delighted Stephan Jaekel, Press Officer for the producer Stage Entertainment. And the nod to Hamburg, the world’s third-largest musical centre after New York and London, is also acknowledgment of  Stage Entertainment’s great figures. "We have exceeded the pre-pandemic level. People's longing for live entertainment and the accompanying emotions have proven stronger than fears of contracting an illness in the theatre," said Jaekel. Disney’s musicals are famous for touching, emotional stories full of catchy tunes and eventual happy endings and are natural magnets.

Millions of euros for lavish musical

Hercules is no exception. The son of Zeus and Hera, who is known for his superhuman strength, is tricked by Hades, the evil god of the underworld, into going down to Earth. Hercules has god-like powers and must perform immense feats to become a true hero and return to Olympus. One adventure follows another as Hercules gains fame and honour in society. Eventually, he meets Meg, a mortal whose strengths will change his destiny. "But Hercules, Meg and the five muses need plenty of backstage support to remain on point and in the right costume," said Jaekel. Three backstage employees are needed to let a single character shine and come to life. "So we end up with a theatre operation of around 150 people." Stage Entertainment is spending a double-digit million sum on the world premiere of Hercules. "That's a house number for a lavish musical. especially as this is the first time we have staged a Disney world premiere in Hamburg."

Stage of "Hercules"

Musicals now clear economic factor

Stage Entertainment has staged several world premieres in the past including the jukebox musical "Ich war noch niemals in New York/I have never been to New York" based on songs by the Austrian composer and singer Udo Jürgens. After taking to the stage in in Hamburg in 2007, it was later performed in Tokyo in 2011. "That was a real export hit. But our production of Rocky, which premiered in Hamburg in 2012, was also the first German production to make the leap to Broadway," said Jaekel. The company does not have to pay license fees for its own productions and instead generates income from the license. "Musicals are a clear economic factor," Jaekel stressed. "And not only for us as a commercial enterprise, but also for Hamburg. Visitors to Stage Entertainment musicals spent a record EUR 1.01 billion on hotels and other activities in Hamburg in 2022, according to our latest audience survey." The number of overnight stays resulting from musical visits remained constant at an average of 2.9 nights.

Stage Theater in Port of Hamburg

30 per cent rise in new customers thanks to "Hamilton"

Stage Entertainment is trying to tap into new target groups to ensure this continued, positive upswing-"Hamilton" was an attempt to use hip-hop to attract visitors other than the usual fans of musicals. However, the hit musical, which was also was a smash hit on Broadway, was cancelled in late 2023 after just one year. "Hamilton wasn't able to match its success in New York and London in Hamburg, but it was a respectable success with 400,000 visitors," Jaekel pointed out. "And we had a 30 per cent rise in new customers." Not surprisingly, Stage Entertainment is focusing on new genres such as "&Julia" to repeat this success. The musical focuses on one of the most famous Shakespearan plays ever and adds a new twist. Juliet gets a second chance at life and love after Romeo's death. 

Original Broadway cast of "&Julia"

"&Julia":living life to the full

"That's the gist of the story. There's a married Shakespearean couple and the story is told with a wonderfully 'woke' twist," Jaeke notes. The plot transports Julia to present-day Paris to live life to the full. It features top hits, sung in  English, such as Katy Perry's "Roar" or Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling". "The result is a guaranteed, feel-good pop musical," he added and will premiere on October 30, 2024 in the Stage Operettenhaus Hamburg.


Sources and further information

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