What could be better than a night under the stars as the familiar music catalog from the Disney Animation archives fills the Hollywood Bowl on a breezy summer evening?
For young and old alike, there was a heavy dose of nostalgia and a lot of joy to be had at the Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Concert, While tunes we could sing along to wafting through the amphitheater, classic Disney characters and stories lit up the screens above the orchestra.
The night leaned heavily on the Disney Princesses and given that the cast and production come from the touring Disney Princess: The Concert, this comes as no surprise. (Most of the merchandise for sale was for the Princess Concert).
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise when you have the original Belle (Beauty and the Beast) Susan Egan hosting the night.
So yes, there was a Classic Princess Medley with songs from Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, along with numerous songs from the Renaissance era of Princesses, including “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, “Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog, and a few tunes from both Frozen films.
Among the amazingly talented performers were Disney Broadway veterans Anneliese van der Pol (Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Sydnee Winters (Nala from The Lion King), Shoba Narayan (Jasmine from Aladdin), Tony Award Winner James Monroe Eglehart for his role of Genie In Aladdin, and Adam Levy (Christian/The Duke from Moulin Rouge) who also co-directed the show with Egan.
The talented cast took us through other animation greats of the House of Mouse with songs from Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, Tarzan, and Encanto. In fact, the voice of Dolores herself (Adass) was on hand to tell us that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”
The Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Thomas Wilkins transported us through medleys of the score from Peter Pan, a montage of some of their most famous creations over the last 100 years, and most spectacularly, a live-to-film performance of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
“Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Concert” brought great joy to the Bowl this past weekend. From little kids just beginning their journey with the Mouse House to those that were at the perfect age to indulge themselves in the renaissance of Disney animation, to the older folks who saw the classic Disney films in the theater when they premiered or later on when they would reissue them for their kids and grandkids to enjoy.
Disney animated films have been a part of the fabric of our lives for so long that they feel like family. And this special two-night celebration reminded us there’s no place like home.