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Disney’s Broadway Hits at the Royal Albert Hall.

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Back in October, the Royal Albert Hall in London was filled with the magic of Disney. Hosted by John Barrowman and accompanied by an all-star cast of performers, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Disney music lyricist, composer and legend Alan Menken, this was a night for Disney’s Broadway and West End hits to come alive.


Featured Productions and Songs:

Image result for Disney's Broadway Hits at the royal albert hall

ACT ONE:

Beauty and the Beast:

Be Our Guest
Beauty and the Beast
A Change in Me *
If I Can’t Love Her *

The Lion King

Hakuna Matata
Shadowlands
Can You Feel the Love Tonight
They Live in You

Aida:

Written in the Stars *
My Strongest Suit
Elaborate Lies
Easy as Life

Tarzan:

Who Better Than Me
Strangers Like Me
You’ll Be In My Heart

Mary Poppins:

Practically Perfect *
Jolly Holiday
Chim Chim Cheree
Feed the Birds
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious *

Frozen:

Let it Go

ACT TWO:

King David:

Never Again
The Long, Long, Day

The Little Mermaid:

She’s in Love
Part of Your World
Under the Sea

Newsies:

Carrying the Banner
Watch What Happens
Santa Fe
Something to Believe In

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Someday
Out There

Aladdin:

Proud of Your Boy *
A Whole New World
Somebody’s Got Your Back
Friend Like Me

(starred songs will be featured below – not from this particular show but in their original format for the stage)


Thoughts:

Yesterday (16th December 2016) the live recording of the show was brought to BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.

And what a show it was!

It was the golden star of Disney’s Broadway Hits, showcasing some of the most popular hits from nearly all of Disney’s theatrical productions, spanning from Beauty and the Beast (the first big hit) to Aladdin (the newest to hit the stage).

I know I was in love.

For two hours, I laid down my writing cap, donned some spiritual Mickey Ears, and let the swell of music take me on my own magic carpet ride.

I’ve heard BBC Radio 2 do live Disney recordings before but this was the best by far, making me belt out many of my favourite tracks whilst also introducing me to songs, and an Alan Menken theatrical production, I’ve never heard of before.

Starting off with Be our Guest and moving through other Beauty and the Beast tracks, I knew that Disney had some of their best vocalists on stage. Only Ashley Brown (having played both Belle and Mary Poppins on Broadway) could have sung the most powerful of notes in A Change in Me, and John Barrowman himself provided the spine-tingling rendition of the Beast’s tortured lament in If I Can’t Love Her. I didn’t think it could get any better until we reached the Mary Poppins segment of the show and I was thrown in front of St Paul’s Cathedral for Feed the Birds – a moment that filled my mind with thoughts of Walt Disney and his own love for this song.

I don’t know if was Radio 2’s own plan to share the show during the week of the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s death, but it certainly hit a chord. And that wouldn’t be the first time the show would move me. It felt only fitting for Alan Menken to come out near the end of the show, play and sing Proud of your Boy from Aladdin, a song cut from the original film. This didn’t just make me think about Walt Disney’s own legacy but also that of Howard Ashman, Alan Menken’s lyricist partner for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the beginning development of Aladdin, as well as other stage productions outside of Disney – notably Little Shop of Horrors. All the time it was playing, the words of his dedication at the end of the Beauty and the Beast credits scrolled in my mind:

To our friend, Howard,
Who gave a mermaid her voice
And a Beast his soul
We will be forever grateful.

And it’s right, because if it hadn’t been for him, most of the songs from this night wouldn’t have the same success and recognition. He brought Disney into the renaissance era of animated musical productions and set off this crazy chain of events that inspired a generation of audiences, including me.

Both Howard Ashman and Walt Disney would have been proud of the spectacle embraced during this show, and that’s what makes watching or listening to a show like this worthwhile.

When it ended after the show-stopping Friend Like Me it didn’t matter that the Newsies segment didn’t include Seize the Day, or that God Helped the Outcasts wasn’t a part of Hunchback of Notre Dame – two of my personal favourite tracks. The excitement I’d been feeling all day for the show was worth it, and even as I write this I’m listening to it again via BBC IPlayer, and have already scheduled the recording of the show’s televised broadcast next Wednesday on Sky Arts.

For anyone who wants to listen, it’s now available online at BBC’s Radio IPlayer


The starred songs:

A Change in Me

If I Can’t Love Her

Written in the Stars

Practically Perfect

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Proud of Your Boy


I don’t care how may times I say it, or how many positive superlatives I use, but it truly was an amazing show to listen to. And if any one was on Twitter last night – from 8-10pm –  you would have been bombarded with my constant live-tweeting and that probably told you everything I loved about it.

Thanks for sticking with me through this long ramble.

Have a brazzle dazzle day!

xx

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