If you haven’t heard anything about the new movie Better Nate Than Ever, you will soon. This uplifting and poignant new movie will be streaming on Disney+ soon, and the man who wrote the original book and directed the new movie has provided some insight into one of the most eyecatching parts of the movie: a Lilo & Stitch Broadway musical!
In the original book “Better Nate Than Ever” about a middle school boy (and theater kid) named Nate who goes to Broadway in order to audition for a brand-new Broadway musical, the stage production in question is E.T. the Musical. The fake Broadway musical was changed to Lilo & Stitch the musical for the new Disney+ movie, and director Tim Federle admitted when asked by D23 staff that “from a rights standpoint, [it was] certainly simpler” to acquire the rights to Lilo & Stitch for a Disney movie since it was already Disney property.
However, Tim Federle also pointed out in the D23 podcast interview that he had other reasons for choosing the animated movie as an inspiration for a fake Broadway musical! According to him, the movie “has this great line: ‘family means nobody gets left behind’. This is the story of a kid who leaves his hometown to try to find himself, and of course he can’t escape himself,” Federle said, referring to Nate in the new movie. “It’s like you go on vacation and you land and you’re like, oh crap, I still have all my same worries — now I’m just in Hawaii”.
“So Nate goes to New York and, ultimately, his chosen family and his real family [come] together to rally for him, and I thought that Lilo & Stitch offered some really cool metaphorical possibilities,” the executive producer of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series explained. “Also, E.T. is an alien, Stitch is an alien, [and] in a lot of ways Nate is an alien (as so many seventh graders are in their own schools)”.
Tim Federle made it clear in the interview that he is very much a Broadway musical and Broadway musical theater enthusiast, emphasizing that Wicked and Pippin were “defining musicals” in the story about Nate and that “all roads lead back to theater people”. Although this new Hawaiian Disney musical and its original songs might not be real yet, the appeal of a musical with original songs like the Captain America and Avengers musical in Hawkeye has certainly made it clear that there is potential for Disney to expand its musical theater offerings and add some more original songs to its roster!
Hawaii might be a little tough to pull off as a setting for a Broadway production, but we’ve seen Disney’s Broadway shows do far more incredible things with stage productions, so maybe it could become a reality after its success in Better Nate Than Ever! Would you like to see a real Lilo & Stitch musical? If it had its own original songs, what do you think they would sound like?