Thursday, August 8, 2013

Making Musical History At The D23 Expo

Normally here at Take The Monorail, our posts focus on planning the perfect trip to Walt Disney World and not as much on Disney Fandom as a whole. Today, we are going to stray from our normal program to talk about an event coming up this weekend in the Disney fan community because it is so special and so noteworthy. But never fear! We will still relate it all back to your perfect trip. Bear with us.

This Saturday, August 10, 2013, two men will take the stage together for the first time at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. The two men are, by their own rights, living legends in the history of the Walt Disney Company. The first gentleman is Richard M. Sherman, who, along with his brother Robert B. Sherman, composed some of the most famous and well-loved songs from both Disney movies and Disney theme parks. He worked with Walt himself to tell some of our favorite stories, including Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks to name a few. He also wrote music that still plays today in some of the theme parks' cornerstone attractions: The Enchanted Tiki Room, it's a small world, and Carousel of Progress. And he's still working even today, most recently contributing the song "Make Way for Tomorrow" to Iron Man 2.

The second gentleman is eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken. He has scored and contributed songs to many of Disney's more recent films and projects, including Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. This only scratches the surface, though. Among many other projects, he also has a 2012 Tony Award® for Newsies, plus many other Broadway credits including Disney's productions of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the upcoming stage production of Aladdin: The New Musical.

Alone, each of these gentlemen is a powerhouse of musical talent. And this weekend, they will come together for the first time to perform a concert for fans attending the D23 Expo. Although they represent different eras in Disney history, they are also fast friends and colleagues. Menken remembers being welcomed to Disney by Sherman, who he had looked up to all his life. Sherman recalls hearing Menken's music in the musical Little Shop of Horrors and loving it right away, citing "Suddenly Seymour" as a particular favorite. It is certain that their warm friendship and mutual respect will brighten the stage.

They promise an evening of well-known classics, storytelling, and some surprise gems from their "Disney Songbook." The concert will begin with Sherman, then Menken will take over, and then both men will converse, play, sing, and share memories and stories with the audience. Although they have not been forthcoming about the exact contents of the set list, it seems certain that there will be plenty of songs for any Disney fan to sing along to. And they promise a few surprises and treats as well.

So if you are fortunate enough to be at the D23 Expo this weekend, be sure to include this once-in-a-lifetime concert event in your plans. For those of us who cannot be there, we can continue to enjoy both men's music in our home movie collection, in theaters, and in the Disney Parks. The next time you visit Walt Disney World, as you sail through it's a small world and take in Mary Blair's artistic vision and classic masterpiece, give the Sherman brother's song another listen. We hear it so often now that it is easy to miss how well-written, catchy and positive it is. The same goes for the Enchanted Tiki Room and it's calypso, fun theme song that will stay in your head long past leaving that tropical hideaway. As you sing along with any and all of your Disney favorites, take a moment to reflect on the people who created that piece of the Disney magic.


Unknown said...

Great article. making musical history at D23 expo.

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