In March 2019, the #busstopkids and I were invited to our favourite venue to be treated like mermaids and princesses to enjoy a special concert celebrating over two decades of stunning Disney Broadway shows.
Disney’s Broadway Hits featured the BBC Concert Orchestra and a constellation of singing stars from the world of musical theatre who performed show-stoppers from an selection Tony and Academy Award®-winning scores.
Here are 10 reasons why the #Busstopkids thought their trip was one to remember ;
- “The lighting was brilliant. The colours especially and how it worked in time with the music”.
- “I liked the singing, because it is the best I have ever heard”.
- “The singing was so powerful. It was the best singing, and their voices were really pure”.
- “I really liked being able to see the orchestra because you never get to see them in a live performance like that”.
- “I liked how all of the songs had a twist on them for Broadway”.
- “The orchestra was very impressive. It was so nice to see the orchestra on stage”
- “It was such beautiful music that came from the orchestra”.
- “I liked how there were all ages at the show, there were kids and much older people too”.
- “It was so fun, I loved singing along to Disney favourites”.
- “I thought it was truly magical!”
Ava Brennan, Shaun Escoffrey, Willemijn Verkaikand Anton Zetterholm who are by far the most talented musical starts in all of the world, sang songs in perfect pitch, and with adorable charm and wit from shows such as Beauty and the Beast, Aida, The Lion King, Aladdin, Mary Poppins, Tarzan®and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
To give you a flavour of the stars reasons for having the entire stage to themselves, you have to watch those singers on YouTube. They have played the lead in all the Disney shows on stage, screen and recording.
Shaun Escoffrey (The Lion King, Les Misérables, Tommy, Mama I Want to Sing) is a successful recording star, as well as actor and musical theatre star. You can currently see him playing Mufasa in The Lion King in the West End.
Willemijn Verkaik (Tarzan®, Wicked’s Elphaba for a record-breaking 2,000 performances) is a Dutch actress, and German theatre and TV star, and she has played the role of Elphaba in 3 languages and 4 countries. Her voice is incredible.
Anton Zetterholm (Tarzan®, Les Misérables) is Swedish, and is was hand picked by Phil Collins through the German TV show ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane”. He is a truly versatile actor and singer, who has also been a celebrity coach on the German show ‘Got To Dance’.
The show was produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, and included worlds from renowned composers and lyricists, including Kristin Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, Phil Collins, Elton John, Alan Menken, Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz and Richard & Robert Sherman. The BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by Keith Lockhart.
MORE INFO about Royal Albert Hall & Disney Theatrical Productions for those keen quizzers…
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Over the past 147 years, it has hosted everyone from Albert Einstein to Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles to Beyoncé, Churchill to Chvrches (we could go on). Last year, its breathtaking auditorium presented 386 events by the world’s greatest performers – taking in rock, pop and classical music, theatre, dance, films, Cirque du Soleil and even tennis – with the magical setting and inspired artists creating amazing memories for audiences.
Opened in 1871 to fulfil Prince Albert’s vision of a central hall to promote the arts and sciences, the Hall is a registered charity that remains true to his founding ambitions while looking to the future. With 1.7million visitors a year, ‘the nation’s village hall’ is the world’s busiest venue, while its 1,000 events in secondary spaces help to welcome a young, diverse audience to the Hall. Research conducted by Populus in 2018 found that the Hall was the most respected venue in its field, with members of the public regarding it as more special and yet less elitist than any comparable venue.
Its Education & Outreach programme reaches more than 185,000 participants each year, working with schools, young people and the community, as well as other charities such as Music for Youth, as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It creates memories, changes lives and provides inspiration through music for all, regardless of age or background.
Disney Theatrical Productions
DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its 10 Broadway titles have been seen by over 160 million theatergoers and have been nominated for 62 Tony® Awards, winning Broadway’s highest honour 20 times. With more than 20 productions currently produced or licensed, a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.
The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. It played a remarkable 13 year run on Broadway and has been produced in 37 countries worldwide.
In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical. After 20 landmark years on Broadway, it has welcomed more than 95 million visitors worldwide to date, and can currently be seen in ten productions worldwide. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King’sworldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aidaopened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards. It was followed by Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, which opened in London in 2004 and went on to enjoy a six year Tony-winning Broadway run.
Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, went on to become an international hit with an award-winning production enjoying a 10-year run in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaidopened on Broadway and was the #1-selling new musical of that year.
Disney Theatrical Productions opened two critically acclaimed productions on Broadway in 2012, receiving seven Tony Awards between them: Peter and the Starcatcherand Newsies, each of which enjoyed a two-year run with the latter launching a two-year North American tour and a record-breaking Fathom Events’ in-cinema release.
Aladdin, Disney Theatrical’s 2014 hit, continues selling out on Broadway and has launched five additional productions around the globe. Its newest hit, the 2018 Tony-nominated Best Musical Frozen, is already setting records in its Broadway run.
Other successful stage ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von