Disney fans turned out in force for Beauty and the Beast in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl on May 25. The show, which concludes on May 26, is the latest edition of Disney’s live-to-film spectaculars, following The Little Mermaid and The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Other live-to-film events at the Bowl have included La La Land and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.)
During the program, the film is presented on the Bowl’s big screens, with its score performed live by an orchestra. Then, during song performance numbers, a performer takes to the stage to sing their rendition of the familiar tune (while the film’s audio is muted). Further, the evening is usually supplemented with additional songs not heard in the original movie, bonus performances and special guests.
For Beauty and the Beast at the Bowl, the show was headlined by Zooey Deschanel (Belle), Kelsey Grammer (Lumiere), Taye Diggs (Gaston), Rebel Wilson (Le Fou), Jane Krakowski (Mrs. Potts) and Anthony Evans (Beast). As a bonus, the orchestra included a number of performers that played on the film’s original soundtrack. Further, the evening’s program was enhanced by an array of additional dancers, singers and some wow-inducing digital projections on the Hollywood Bowl’s shell.
Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, earned two Academy Awards and was the first animated film to be nominated for best picture. The movie was adapted into a Tony Award-winning stage musical, and also as an Oscar-nominated live action film in 2017.
Here’s a look at some notable moments and highlights from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
Poppe Pops By: In a bit of Disney/ABC TV synergy, the winner of the revived American Idol, Maddie Poppe, was the first performer of the evening (around 7:52 p.m.). The singer, who was crowned on May 21, accompanied herself on ukulele to sing “The Bear Necessities” from Disney’s 1967 animated feature The Jungle Book.
DCappella’s Live Concert Debut: Disney Music Group’s new a cappella singing group, DCappella, made its live concert debut during the pre-show. The seven-member strong troupe’s 20-minute set included renditions of new Disney favorites like Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” and Coco’s “The World Es Mi Familia,” as well as a mash-up of tunes from The Little Mermaid. The act closed out the performance with a fun choice: Fall Out Boy’s rockin’ “Immortals,” from Big Hero 6, which was bolstered by a looper machine stacking their vocals, along with some instrumentation provided by the orchestra.
The Bowl’s Shell Comes Alive: Following a costume contest competition, Poppe, DCappella and a piano performance by 16-year-old Emily Bear, it was time for the film to begin. At 8:25 p.m., the overture started and the Hollywood Bowl’s iconic shell was illuminated with beautiful art deco digital projections. Throughout the entire show, gorgeous scene-enhancing imagery – inspired by and sometimes lifted directly from the film – was projected onto the bowl’s façade. Hopefully future Disney shows at the Bowl — not to mention performances at the venue in general — will employ this kind of digital wizardry.
A Rousing Rebel Wilson: Wilson’s an old pro at this Disney in Concert thing, as she appeared as the evil sea witch Ursula in The Little Mermaid in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2016. This time around, the Pitch Perfect actress/singer took to the stage as Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick. She garnered a warm reception from the crowd, gamely performed with Taye Diggs as Gaston and then made a mad-dash exit off stage while ribbon twirling. Both Wilson and Diggs also had moments in the film’s first song, “Belle,” and returned for a surprise in-the-crowd moment performance during “The Mob Song.”
Be Our Guest! Kelsey Grammer was a perfect fit as the debonair talking candelabra Lumiere. The five-time Emmy Award winner and two-time Tony Award nominee was joined in the razzle-dazzle “Be Our Guest” number by Tony winner and five-time Emmy nominee Jane Krakowski as the talking teapot Mrs. Potts. The performance — as seen in the film where Beast’s animated household objects excitedly prepare a meal for Belle — came to a stirring close where the stage was filled with 24 additional dancers and singers. (Krakowski later returned to sing a lovely version of the 1991 Oscar-winner for best original song, “Beauty and the Beast,” which was originally performed in the film by Angela Lansbury.)
“Human Again”: After a 20-minute intermission, and a duo performance by violinist Sandy Cameron and cellist Tina Guo, it wasn’t quite time for the film to start again. Instead, Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur — decked out in a glittery red gown — shimmied her way onto the stage to sing a song that was cut from the original film, “Human Again.” The track was clipped from the movie, but was added (in a shorter version) to the long-running stage musical. A totally fun Winokur sang the song from the point of view as the delightful Wardrobe (voiced in the film by Jo Anne Worley).
Show-Stopper: Anthony Evans, as Beast, got a rapturous response from the crowd for his show-stopping rendition of “Evermore,” written for the 2017 live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. “Evermore,” like “Human Again,” enhanced the evening’s program of songs, as there are only six tunes in the film (not counting reprises).
Evans has charted seven titles on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart, including 2017’s No. 1 Back to Life. The singer (who was also a contestant on The Voice in 2012) recently hit the top 20 of the Gospel Airplay tally with “Back to Life.”
Alan Menken Closes the Show: Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken — who composed Beauty and the Beast’s score — closed out the show with a mini-performance on piano. After a thunderous welcoming applause from the crowd of Disney devotees, he accompanied himself on piano, singing “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (from the live action Beauty) and “Beauty and the Beast.” Following Menken, the whole cast returned to take a bow, and the show was concluded shortly after 10:38 p.m.