A live-action version of “The Prince of Egypt” is coming to a small screen near you.
A filmed performance of “The Prince of Egypt,” the West End stage musical from composer Stephen Schwartz and director Scott Schwartz based on the 1998 DreamWorks Animation film of the same name, became available to rent Tuesday for the first time in the U.S.
In the video above, TheWrap can exclusively premiere a first-look at the hit production’s rousing opening number, “Deliver Us.” Stephen Schwartz told TheWrap that the song was the “first one he wrote for the original DreamWorks animated feature.”
“It set the tone for the rest of the movie in promising something unusual for animation: an epic tale dealing with big cultural and social themes and deep human relationships and emotions,” Schwartz said. “Over the years, it has become one of the best-known musical sequences from the movie, both in terms of its Middle Eastern-inflected music and its monumental events. And since the song opens both the movie and the show, it was vital that the show find a way to translate it to the language of theatre.”
Scott Schwartz described the task of staging the number as “thrilling.”
“The song must set the stage for the entire show. It is powerful, brutal, emotional and lets the audience know they’re in for both a grand spectacle and also an intimate, complex human retelling of the story of Exodus,” he told TheWrap.
Working together with choreographer Sean Cheeseman, the director and composer agree that “Deliver Us” was “one of the highlights” of adapting the animated musical to the stage.
“The brilliant staging of Scott Schwartz and Sean Cheeseman, using actors and dancers’ bodies not only to bear the heavy bricks of the pyramids but actually to become architecture and the River Nile itself, creates a theatrical language that sets the tone for the show as definitively as the song did for the original movie,” Stephen Schwartz continued.
The stage musical began its limited engagement run at the West End’s Dominion Theatre in London in February 2020 — before the COVID pandemic shut down live performance and it picked back up and finished its run in January 2022. Touted as “one of the biggest musicals ever staged,” the production featured a cast and orchestra of 60 performers.
“The Prince of Egypt” tells the religious story of Moses and his God-sent mission to free the children of Israel from Egypt. Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Godspell”) wrote its music and lyrics while Philip LaZebnik (“Mulan,” “Pocahontas”) wrote its book. The stage production features 10 new songs together with five from the original animated feature, including “Deliver Us,” “When You Believe” and “Through Heaven’s Eyes.”
“I found the West End production beautiful in its design and exciting in its staging and performances, so I am truly delighted that audiences in the U.S. who couldn’t see it in London now have an opportunity to experience this extraordinary production,” Stephen Schwartz concluded. “The themes of the story seem to me especially relevant at this holiday time of year, when we are considering our relationships to our world and one another. It seems to me a perfect holiday gift, whether people are watching by themselves or together as a family.”
“The Prince of Egypt: The Musical” is distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.