The newest Disney musical probably isn’t for children.
The Perfect American, a new opera by Philip Glass premiering in Spain this month, tells the story of Walt Disney — but without the help of his most famous fictional creations. According to the U.K. Guardian, the show “concentrates on the last years of Disney’s life, when he lay dying of lung cancer while planning to have his body frozen. It portrays Disney as a megalomaniac with McCarthyite, racist, and misogynist tendencies, so it is clear why the global entertainment corporation has denied rights [to the Disney characters].” (A rep for The Walt Disney Company did not respond to EW’s request for comment.)
“This opera is a surreal dream,” John Berry, artistic director of the English National Opera, told The Guardian. “It is not a biography and the truth is that we would probably not have used the real Disney characters in the production even if we had been allowed to.”
The Walt Disney portrayed by the opera resembles a Miranda Priestly-like terror. The paper describes scenes (all based on a 2005 fictionalized account of working for Disney written by Peter Stephan Jungk) that include Disney talking credit for work he had little to do with, and being casually cruel to his employees — actions that would never fly on The House of Mouse.