Steve Rogers can do it all day, but Rogers: The Musical had a cap of 30 minutes. This fact is even mentioned in the show’s opening number. But, the production masterfully finds a way to give you everything you need in the time allotted — even if you wish the fun could last a bit longer.
Director and creator Jordan Peterson continues to show his mastery of all the theme park entertainment staples. Following his work on Magic Happens and Wondrous Journeys, he now conquers the theme park stage show. Typically, the Hyperion Theatre productions have been helmed by outside theater directors, but one of the many things that sets this show apart is that it knows it is designed for a theme park audience and understands how to deliver at the shorter duration but larger scope that is expected.
Rogers integrates itself into the nearby Buena Vista Street and features a wide array of Easter eggs throughout, which enhance the show as a theme park experience. Much like many recent entertainment offerings, the fandom of the creative team is obvious, but avoids the pitfall of oddly placed fanservice that distracts from the show. The care the team put in can be seen from everything from set design, choreography, to projections. The new musical numbers, with music by Christopher Lennertz and lyrics by Peterson, Lennertz, and Alex Karukas seamlessly blend in with the MCU songs we already know. And while, it is disappointing that they could not find a way to bring some Sherman into the park with “Make Way for Tomorrow Today,” the show is so expertly crafted that I have to presume that its exclusion was what is best for the show.
As you probably know, the show is inspired by the musical from the Hawkeye series, and wisely includes the “Save the City” number from that show within a show. However, the intentionally campy version of the Avengers is a bit at odds with the more “true” version of Cap, Agent Carter, Bucky, and Fury. While Fury sings and dances, he does so in a way you think he would (if he did such things aside from his rousing rendition of “Please Mr. Postman” in Captain Marvel). That being said, it is hard to determine if this incongruity is worth the concession of having an earnest show that also features a fan-favorite life from the Disney+ series. I am inclined to say that the trade-off is more than justifiable, because in any other scenario, guests may feel that the show is missing what it should deliver.
Much like Wonderous Journeys, it is amazing how much emotion they were able to into a theme park extravaganza. While the ending does change a bit from the MCU version of events, it is a genius way to bring the Rogers story full-circle, while still giving us the moment between Steve and Peggy that we are all waiting for. It may not be the most obvious way to conclude the musical, but it ended up being a genius move.
The only unfathomable thing about the show is why it is a limited run. While it could be extended or find an alternate venue, as you depart the Hyperion, you can’t help but get a sense of melancholy as you know you won't have that many more opportunities to see it again. In fact, the show is dark every Sunday and Monday with additional dark days due in July due to private functions. Ideally, the show would pull a “Tale of the Lion King” and return with a slightly bigger cast and scope with an indefinite run.
Rogers: The Musical is everything a theme park show should be. This is to say that it has fun, catchy songs, exciting dancing, and a lot of spectacle. It also fits Disney California Adventure like a glove, so definitely head over to see it while you can.