Welcome to Extinct Attractions. Today, I’ll be taking a look back at the most recent closure at the Disneyland Resort, so recent that it closed today (well, on the day this article was published).
Tomorrow is the first day of September, which means that Disneyland is just about to start their Halloween celebration with the first Oogie Boogie Bash next Tuesday (and I’ll be there!). I like that Disneyland waits until right after Labor Day to start on Halloween because even though autumn doesn’t technically start until later in the month, Labor Day always feels like the point where I start transitioning to fall.
Today, Disney California Adventure will be going through a transition of itself as its newest attraction will be closing just two months after opening. But before we lament its end, we’ve got to jump to the beginning of its history.
The show Hawkeye, based on the titular character, debuted on November 24, 2021 on Disney+. When we meet back up with Clint Barton (Hawkeye), we saw him at a showing of Rogers the Musical, complete with bits and pieces of a musical number known as “Save the City.” As soon as the episode was released, the Disney Parks fandom was immediately pitching the idea that the show should be added to the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure, which had not yet had a replacement for Frozen – Live at the Hyperion.
With the theater located right next to Avengers Campus, it seemed like a no-brainer, but there didn’t seem to be any traction for the show’s actual existence until September 2022 when a full Broadway-style performance of “Save the City” was performed at the D23 Expo. All the excitement came roaring back with the performance, but Disney fans needed to wait another five months until February 2023, when it was officially announced that Rogers the Musical would be coming to the Hyperion Theater during summer 2023.
When the show opened on June 30, it would include seven musical numbers including “Save the City,” a repurposed “Star-Spangled Man” from Captain America: The First Avenger as well as five completely original numbers with music by Christopher Lennertz and lyrics by Lennertz, Jordan Peterson, and Alex Karukas.
Now enough with the preamble, it’s showtime!
Rogers the Musical tells the story of Steve Rogers, better known in most circles as Captain America. Because Steve was born in the early 20th-century, the pre-show featured a giant radio playing the “hits” of the time, with one of the songs also playing along Buena Vista Street quite often.
But soon enough, the radio show came to an end as three women, known as the Starkettes, emerged on the stage, serving as a Greek chorus to help guide us through the story of Cap’s life, starting with where we meet him in the first film, New York City. After a brief intro song, “skinny” Seteve Rogers sang a full-on power ballad about how much he wanted to join the army for World War II, but simply couldn’t pass the test because of his physical ailments.
From there, we follow his filmic journey into being convinced to take the serum to become a “super-soldier” and hero for the war cause as well as when he met Peggy Carter with some fun repartee between the two. To accomplish the transformation, they swapped actors, with the bulked-up Steve Rogers rocking a deeper voice that came in handy for a fun montage song where he posed on various propaganda set pieces to “help the cause.”
Next, we jumped to Cap piloting the jet into the ice to help save countless lives, but also costing him his life…or so we are led to believe until he wakes up in modern day sitting in a bed right across from Nick Fury. Fury sang the most fun song in the show “What You Missed” where he tried to quickly recap Cap on everything that he had missed in the past 60+ years. The song also briefly introduced each member of the Avengers, of which Steve Rogers was to immediately become a part of.
With the gang all there, it was time for the Battle of Manhattan and the song “Save the City” that had made its rounds in pop culture by this point. All of the core six Avengers were included, plus Ant-Man as a nod to the show when Barton notes that he wasn’t part of the Avengers yet.
With Manhattan saved (but very destroyed), a huge time jump occurred, basically encapsulating every element of Cap’s life from The Avengers through Avengers: Endgame. Old Captain America then emerged to sing a duet with the younger Cap that transitioned into a closing where we finally got the chance to see Cap and Peggy go on their long-awaited date.
All in all, I thought the idea for this show was so brilliant and I wish we would see more ideas like it in the parks. Guests could enjoy it with absolutely no context of the television show or the movies because it told its story in a very concise way that made it easy to understand.
But what I don’t understand is why the show only lasted two months because the set design and costuming were Broadway-caliber, so they clearly put a lot of money into the show for it to barely last. Plus, they ended it right before one of the busiest weekends of the year at Disneyland, Labor Day weekend, and the show only ran on Tuesdays through Saturdays during its entire ru. They were even selling out reserved seating packages that they had, so people were clearly excited about the show and it was even generating direct revenue.
Am I a little salty that the one day I had the chance to see the show live, all four shows of the day were canceled? Well, yes that is maybe a part of it, but it still doesn’t make any sense to me to not extend the run further, unless the tech issues that occurred that day were so prevalent that they can’t run the show any longer.
Rant aside, the show will live on through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with references in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and She-Hulk. But those references are hardly a substitute for the show itself, so here’s to holding out hope that this fun show will return one day in its former glory.
As always, don’t forget to check out my interactive maps of the Disney Parks throughout the years where you can watch or learn more about all the attractions from every Disney park around the world.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!