Randy Newman Talks New Orleans and the 'Princess and the Frog' with Variety

As previously reported, the soundtrack for Disney's Princess and the Frog will be released and available for purchase on November 23. The album, with original songs by Academy Award winner Randy Newman, features the voices of the movie's stars, Anika Noni Rose (Caroline or Change, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Footloose), Keith David, and Jenifer Lewis.

In anticipation of the release, Newman spoke with Variety about his love of the Big Easy (the backdrop for The Princess and the Frog) and why he didn't have to think twice about taking the job of composing original songs for the animated feature.

Referring to his summers in the South the music man says: "I've been dredging those 30 months I spent in New Orleans for all I could in my life." Songs featured on his Newman's "Good Old Boys" and "Land of Dreams" albums are set in New Orleans.  Newman has known admiration for such New Orleans-based artists as Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino.

To read his comments in Variety in their entirety, click here.

Newman composed songs for Broadway's Matters of the Heart Concert Special in 2000.  He has worked mostly as a film composer. His film scores include Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, Leatherheads, James and the Giant Peach, Meet the Parents and Seabiscuit. He has scored five Disney-Pixar films: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Cars, and is set to return for Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. He has been singled out for a number of awards by his colleagues, including an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy. Randy Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2006, Newman was inducted as a Disney Legend.

The 17-track Princess and the Frig disc features Rose's "Down in New Orleans" and "Almost There" in addition to "When We're Human," a tune with Rose and Michael Leon-Wooley and Bruno Campos.

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical The Princess and the Frog, an animated comedy that provides a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again. 

A musical set in the legendary birthplace of jazz -- New Orleans -- The Princess and the Frog will introduce the newest Disney princess, Tiana, a young African-American girl living amid the charming elegance and grandeur of the fabled French Quarter. From the heart of Louisiana's mystical bayous and the banks of the mighty Mississippi comes an unforgettable tale of love, enchantment and discovery with a soulful singing crocodile, voodoo spells and Cajun charm at every turn.

Oprah Winfrey stars as Eudora, the mother to Princess Tiana voiced by stage and screen star Anika Noni Rose. The film also stars such stage (and movie) greats as John GoodmanJenifer Lewis,Keith DavidMichael-Leon Wooley and Peter Bartlett. Broadway favorite Jen Cody is also in the film as well, voicing Charlotte LaBouff.

Disney's Princess will open exclusively in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 25th. The upcoming film will be set in New Orleans and feature the Walt Disney Studio's first black princess.

The movie is written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements and features the music of Randy Newman, who wrote 6 new songs for the film.


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