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Marvel’s fake Captain America musical from Hawkeye is headed to a real stage

Rogers: The Musical is going full circle from meta-joke to not-a-joke

Captain America and Thor pose during Rogers: The Musical in an episode of the MCU series Hawkeye Image: Marvel Studios
Tasha Robinson leads Polygon’s movie coverage. She’s covered film, TV, books, and more for 20 years, including at The A.V. Club, The Dissolve, and The Verge.

Remember when Mel Brooks’ 1967 movie The Producers was re-imagined as a Broadway musical that swept the Tonys, and because it was so popular, the Broadway version was eventually made into a different film version? Or when Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse featured a fake trailer for a nonexistent Danny Trejo movie called Machete, which was eventually turned into a real movie series? Now we’re getting the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of that evolution. Rogers: The Musical — a fictional, over-the-top cheesy Broadway musical Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) walks out on in his Disney Plus series Hawkeye — is headed to a real stage.

The Disney Parks account on TikTok shared a video on Thursday with a short teaser for the real-life Rogers: The Musical. The account added in a comment that Disney’s California Adventure Park will be premiering a “short one-act musical” version of Rogers in summer 2023. The video shows a woman dressed like Steve Rogers’ love interest Peggy Carter, from the Marvel series Agent Carter, looking at a playbill for the show and walking toward a theater.

It’s a little ironic that Disney is doing a straight version of the show, given how it’s depicted in Hawkeye as a corny, artificial experience that actively depresses Hawkeye. As someone who lived out the events he’s seeing onstage, he clearly feels that the repackaged version is a fake, feel-good experience that doesn’t reflect any of the trauma he’s experienced as an Avenger. That said, Disney parks specialize in fakey, feel-good experiences. And the song from that musical that we see in Hawkeye is a bona fide earworm for Broadway musical fans. “Save The City,” written by Broadway vets Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can), is meant to get people singing along, and maybe Disney execs felt like they shouldn’t waste it as a throwaway joke in one episode of a TV show.

Rhys Thomas, who directed the Hawkeye episode built around the Broadway musical, told Polygon in a Nov. 2021 interview that he came up with the idea for the musical when he was looking for something to “annoy” Hawkeye, and that the consciously silly tone of Rogers: The Musical was a balancing act for the creators.

“You realize, like, oh, we’re making an MCU musical in the MCU,” Thomas said. “So how good is it? How bad is it? It needs to be absurd. So finding that line, which I feel like is a line that I find myself constantly trying to walk: you’ve got to take it seriously, but just not seriously enough.”

We’ll have to wait to see how seriously Disney Parks takes the idea, and whether it improves on the original musical’s silly costumes — particularly for Hulk, who’s more or less a guy in an inflatable suit and green facepaint. But more MCU Broadway ballads is probably a good thing overall.

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