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BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good Cause

BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good Cause

On Friday, April 17, 3030 BC/EFA presented a livestream of the Disney on Broadway anniversary concert! The stream was hosted by Frozen on Broadway's Ryan McCartan live from his family's home and the online playback raised money for Broadway Cares' COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which is helping everyone in the theater and performing arts community impacted by the pandemic.

The concert, dubbed Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway was presented onstage November 4, 2019, and featured a cast of 79 performers and a 15-piece orchestra.

The show opened with McCartan welcoming audiences to the livestream and explaining the logistics of the situation, including why he has a beard in some segments, but not in others! The livestream then turned to footage from the live concert, which opened with a welcome blessing from Lindiwe Dlamini, Bongi Duma, Tshidi Manye, , Sibusiso Ngema, from the Lion King. Whoopi Goldberg then took to the stage to welcome everyone to the event.

The next performance Michael James Scott who gave an incredibly charismatic rendition of "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin, a song close to his heart since he played BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good CauseGenie in the Broadway production. Following Scott was Kara Lindsay, who performed "Change in Me" from Beauty and the Beast, which was a clever song choice, since when she performed she was very pregnant, and pointing at the literal change in her. Being pregnant didn't stop her from being able absolute kill the song, though, with her insane belting ability.

Back on the livestream, McCartan interviews Lindsay to talk about the underdog story of Newsies' journey to Broadway before returning to the concert, where Josh Strickland performed "Santa Fe" from the hit 2012 musical. His number was followed by Mandy Gonzalez singing "My Strongest Suit" from Aida featuring Lauryn Ciardullo, April Holloway, Nina Larfarga, and Katie Terza. This number was full of lady power and Gonzalez was charming and coy as she sang. Kerry Butler then took the stage to perform "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid, embodying the youthful spirit of Ariel while also delivering on all the high notes in the song.

McCartan's next interview guest was Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins. Brown explains to McCartan how she was asked to fill in for Heidi Blickenstaff singing No More Fear from Freaky Friday, the night before the concert. Brown shared that she knows basically every song in the Disney on Broadway catalogue, except that one, so she had to make it work so last minute.

The livestream turns back to the concert to show Brown perform "No More Fear." Brown makes light of the situation and uses it to her comedic advantage by bringing out a music stand and turning pages that read "Not Heidi," "They called me this morning." and "Ashley" for the audience to read. Brown may have just learned the song, but she still was able to absolutely kill it, her voice is so powerful and lends so well to this song.

The concert continued on with Merle Dandridge singing "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan. Dandridge delivered a moving performance of an emotional song that definitely hits close to home in these current times. Following Dandridge were Adam Pascal and Sherie Rene Scott, two of the original cast members of Aida, singing "Beauty and the Beast" from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. The duo sang a beautiful duet, with their unique voices adding to the iconic song. Andrew Barth Feldmen took the stage next to sing "She's In Love" from The Little Mermaid featuring Lauryn Ciardullo, April Holloway, Nina Larfarga, and Katie Terza. Feldman brought his high energy and natural comedic charm to the song, and he had great back and forth with the women in the chorus. Adam Jacobs followed Feldman with his rendition of "Proud of Your Boy" from Aladdin. Jacobs moving and powerful performance was a reminder to us all why he's the original Aladdin on Broadway.

BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good CauseMcCartan's next livestream guest was Jelani Alladin, the original Kristoff in Frozen and Hercules in Hercules. Alladin talks to McCartan abotu what it's like being able to originate two Disney princes on Broadway saying, "It's an incredible honor."

Alladin took the stage at the concert with Bradley Gibson and Alton Fitzgerald White to sing "Go the Distance" from Hercules. This was one of my favorite performances of the night, not only because the song itself usually brings me to tears, but the three men's voices fit so well together and it brought another layer of dimension to the song. Continuing on with Hercules, Ramona Keller, Tamika Lawrence, Kissy Simmons, Rema Webb, and Syndee Winters followed with a performance of "Zero to Hero." From the moment the first note hit, these women came out strong, channeling the Muses and delivering a show-stopping and entertaining number.

Rejoining McCartan, he talks with Jess LeProtto and Tommy Bracco, two of the original cast members from Newsies. Bracco spoke about what it was like taking the show from the Paper Mill to Broadway saying, "I never dreamed that that would be my Broadway debut...it was the greatest gift ever."

BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good CauseThe concert saw a Newsies reunion as members of the original cast took to the stage to sing "King of New York" with Ashley Park. The Newsies may have grown up, but they still brought the same level of energy and youthfulness to the number that they did 8 years ago when they performed on Broadway.

Gavin Creel came out next, singing an emotional rendition of "Out There" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Sierra Boggess took to the stage after Creel and sang "Never Again" from King David, an underrated Disney on Broadway musical. Many people watching the stream may not have heard that song before, but after hearing Boggess' incredible performance, I have a feeling there was a surge in searches for the show's soundtrack. McCartan spoke with Boggess on the livestream after her performance, and told her how we all feel, saying, "Your voice is offensive" because it's so good.

Ashley Brown returned to the stage, this time with Christian Borle to sing a Mary Poppins medley. The duo had great chemistry and sang some of the show's catchiest numbers, including "Let's Go Fly a Kite." Borle then left the stage, leaving Brown to sing "Feed the Birds," which was just another reminder of the insane vocal talent that Brown possesses. Norm Lewis followed their performances with his moving rendition of "If I Cant Love Her" from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

McCartan next spoke on the livestream with Susan Egan, who was the original Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, which was the first Disney on Broadway prouduction. Egan spoke about the incredible legacy that Beauty and the Beast created, telling McCartan, "We had no idea there would be this legacy of Disney on Broadway, we hoped."

BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good CauseSusan Egan took to the stage at the concert to sing "I Wont Say I'm In Love" with Krysta Rodriguez and featuring Ramona Keller, Tamika Lawrence, Kissy Simmons, Rema Webb, and Syndee Winters. Egan and Rodriguez had great chemistry and their harmonies were incredible!

As the concert began to near the end, James Monroe Iglehart came out on stage and performed an insanely talented freestyle using the words "love" "hope" and "fantastic" given to him from the audience. Iglehart rapped a recap of the night's performances and brought the house down, finishing his number by singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King.

Iglehart joined McCartan on the livestream to talk about his deep love for Disney on Broadway and his Tony winning role as the Genie in Aladdin on Broadway. Iglehart talks about the night he won the Tony, saying "That was one of the most surreal nights."

BWW Review: Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert Livestream Brings Out Broadway's Biggest Stars for a Good CauseHelping to bring the anniversary concert to a close, Marisha Wallace, Syndee Winters, and Broadway Inspirational Voices took to the stage to perform a powerful rendition of "The Gods Love Nubia" from Aida. The night ended with the entire company singing "Let It Go" the finale from Frozen on Broadway led by Ashley Brown and Ashley Park.

Following the end of the concert, the livestream drew to a close with one final interview. Michael James Scott from Aladdin joined McCartan and spoke about being a part of the Disney on Broadway family. Scott said, "Being apart of this family is mind-blowing...and there will be a family after this." After the interview, Ryan McCartan ends the night by singing "Somewhere the Rainbow" on his guitar.

The Disney on Broadway Anniversary Concert livestream was an inspirational reminder of the power of musical theatre during a time when live theater can't happen. This livestream helped to solidify the truth that the world needs live performance and that lives can be changed through it. Although things may look differently right now, the magic of Disney and Broadway helped to remind us that things will be good again, and when they are, we will all start to create more magic to inspire new generations!

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes



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