When Disney says “Be our Guest,” one does not hesitate to take them up on the invitation! This past Friday, we were delighted to attend Beauty and the Beast in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. What a night it was. Fans from all over the country came to see the limited engagement, and Disney, true to form, served up quite a spectacle. We invite you to spend the next several minutes with us as we recap the delightful experience. Stick around long enough and we just might “sing you off to sleep as you digest”…all the wonderful things you’ve learned.
Picture Spots and Costume Contest
Prior to the concert, guests could have their picture taken at several Beauty and the Beast themed picture spots based on scenes from the movie. There was also a giant inflatable rose to admire! The merchandise table was selling shirts, blankets, pictures, jackets, and more. Select food locations were selling themed items and such as the Beast Burger and the Belle Burger.
Many guests attended the concert in costume, some just because they love Beauty and the Beast, others in hopes of winning the costume contest! A group of three each modeled of Belle’s beautiful outfits; several wore her iconic yellow gown; a few came in her classic blue and white village dress; and of course the Beast made a few appearances too.
Pre Show Magic
We knew we were in for a treat when we purchased out tickets, but we had no idea just how many wonderful surprises were awaiting us! After the costume contest, the first performer to take the stage was none other than newly-crowned American Idol, Madde Poppe. The delightful Madde took the stage to play her favorite Disney song, “The Bare Necessities.”
The next surprise of the night was the opening act. Disney’s brand new group, DCappella took the stage to officially get things started. We’d seen their medley video, but this was even better. This also happened to be their first live performance and we were so glad to be a part of it. DCappella sang, hummed, and beatboxed (!) several favorite songs including:
- “The World Es Mi Familia”
- “How Far I’ll Go”
- “Part of Your World” and “A Whole New World” Mashup
- “I Wan’na Be Like You”
- The Incredibles Theme song “Glory Days”
- Big Hero 6 anthem “Immortals” (personal favorite)
Ready for the next surprise? The amazing stage crew wheeled out a gorgeous grand piano for our next performer. Emily Bear is a 16-year-old piano prodigy and every bit deserving of that title. She provided the piano music for the Disney animated short, Bumble Boogie while the audience watched the animated clip. The orchestra also played, but Emily was the star!
Finally it was time for the show to begin. Since this concert was built around the 1991 animated film, we had to watch it too. Several monitors were placed around the stage and one large monitor hung about the center of the stage. Two giant screens were off to both sides so all guests could the movie. Just like any other Disney film, the concert started with the Castle logo on screen while the orchestra played the opening theme. Then to make things even better, a gentleman in Steamboat Willie Mouse Ears took the stage to whistle like Mickey while the 50 Years of Animation logo card filled our screens. Then the beautiful prologue began, and…
Zooey Deschanel appeared and sang “Belle.” Everyone from DCappella was also part of the group numbers along with about a dozen other singers and performers. Dialogue scenes from the movie continued to play and then Taye Diggs was there singing as Gaston. After the song, everyone headed backstage and we watched more of the film, although it was slightly edited for time.
Shortly after, Rebel Wilson took the stage as LeFou (a fan favorite) to sing “Gaston” and Diggs returned to help create the scene and talk about how many dozen eggs he eats. Then we headed back to the castle for “Be Our Guest” performed by Kelsey Grammer as Lumiere and Jane Krakoski as Mrs. Potts.
Violin and Cello
Right before the second act resumed, we were treated to an incredible violin and cello duel if you will. Violinist Sandy Cameron and Cellist Tina Gou took the stage in their yellow and blue costumes for Belle and Beast. Each lady played so intensely and beautifully, we almost forgot there was an entire orchestra behind them!
Marissa Jaret Winokur came out to sing “Human Again” a song originally cut from the film and then used in the Broadway production. Her version of the song was told from the perspective of the Wardrobe.
We returned to the film and then Anthony Evans and Deschanel came out to sing “Something There” and Krakowski sang “Beauty and the Beast.” We watched as Beast let Belle go to rescue her father, then Evans came back on stage to sing “Evermore.” While this song isn’t from the animated film, it was written for the live-action remake from 2017. Evans’ tenor provided a different take on the song’s original baritone and he sang with such passion!
Curtain Call/Final Bow
Before the evening ended, one final surprise was in store. Composer Alan Menken came out to play and sing “Beauty and the Beast” for the audience. If you didn’t know, Menken is no stranger to Disney. He’s composed songs and scores for such favorites as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Tangled. His compositions have been the themes that many Millennials grew up listening to and are now sharing with their children. Menken took a moment to ask the orchestra how many of them had recored the original score for the film. Almost half of them raised their hands. While it’s exciting to see celebrities sing our favorites, those in the orchestra are responsible for bringing these songs and themes to life.
All good things have to come to an end at some point. The entire cast and special guests came out for one final chorus of “Be Our Guest” and then the night was over.
“Ever just the same. Ever a surprise.” Those lyrics must have been the inspiration for this concert, because Beauty and the Beast was one of the best events we’ve attended. It held onto the things we love about the story while throwing in some unexpected magic. Those responsible for selecting the cast did a fantastic job and this is a show we’d be happy to see again. The singers were wonderful, the special guest performers were a pleasant surprise, we enjoyed two bonus songs, and well, when’s the next concert? We were most excited to see Kelsey Grammer and Taye Diggs (yep, we’re old), however we enjoyed the whole show immensely. If you have the opportunity to attend a special Disney concert like this one, it’s well worth the time and money.