As Disney fans we get to experience many magical moments and many become core memories that bring joy just by recalling them. Experiencing Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl was one of those nights. The energy surrounding the celebration of the Walt Disney Animation Studios film was off the charts. From the moment you made the long climb into the Hollywood Bowl, you could feel the enthusiasm build. By the time you took your seat, you knew tonight was going to be special. But even with the high bar, the team that put on the event exceeded all expectations.
They transformed the famed Hollywood Bowl into a casita that transformed with the film during the film through some high quality projection mapping. The flag of the USA, which took on extra symbolism during the Veterans Day concert, was joined by the flag of Colombia which inspired the film. There was an orchestra on the top level with a latin band on the bottom level which resulted in being surrounded with music.
The evening started with an introduction by Lin-Manuel Miranda who shared his love of the film as well as the 100 year legacy of Disney Animation. From there, the familiar notes of “When You Wish Upon the Star,” launched us into a symphonic delight. But this was not just a typical live-score to film experience. The original cast of the film including Stephanie Beatriz (Mirabel), Adassa (Dolores), Carolina Gaitán (Pepa), Jessica Darrow ( Luisa), Diane Guerrero (Isabela), Mauro Castillo (Félix), Angie Cepeda (Julieta) and Olga Merediz (Abuela Alma), where on hand to sing the songs that have become viral sensations. They were accentuated by 50 dancers who brought the story to life and even entered the aisles of the bowl. This may be the first time a donkey in a tutu grace the Hollywood Bowl stage, but I certainly hope it is not the last. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say that the team delivered with their “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” production.
Following intermission, original composer Germaine Franco conducted a musical suite before the film resumed. The second half featured a memorable performance by Colombian superstar Andrés Cepeda who performed “Dos Oruguitas” with a children’s choir while the dancers brought all the emotion to the surface. The evening was brought to a close with a high energy performance of “Colombia, Mi Encanto” and a fireworks finale.
There was not a single person in the Hollywood Bowl who did not have a smile on their faces. It was a night to be remembered. Luckily, for those unable to attend, Disney+ will be bringing all the fun and magic of the event to viewers around the world. Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl will be available to stream on Wednesday, Dec. 28. I can think of no better way for families to celebrate the new year, and kick-off Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration, than gathering together to celebrate the magic and music of Encanto.