"Disney Revue": A whole new world

by Alicia Anstead

Like the best collaborations, "Disney Revue," which runs through Saturday Nov. 20 at the Adams Pool Theater, began with scribbles of an idea written on a napkin. One night last spring, Brenda Lin '12 and Devon Dunn '12 were talking over dinner and decided to do a fun show, something that both theater people and the rest of the student body would love.

Their motivating question: Who doesn't love Disney? Also important: Who hasn't memorized the lyrics to Disney musicals, such as "The Lion King" (50 million people worldwide have seen the touring show) and "Beauty and the Beast" (35 million worldwide).

For "Disney Revue," Lin and Dunn, with music director Alex Valente '12, shaped an original story around some of Disney's most popular tunes: "Bare Necessities" ("The Jungle Book"), "Part of Your World" ("The Little Mermaid"), "A Whole New World" ("Aladdin"), "I'll Be Your Candle on the Water" ("Pete's Dragon"), "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" ("The Lion King").

Need we go on?

The plot of the revue is -- if you'll pardon the expression -- a tale as old as time. It (loosely) follows the struggles of a theater troupe whose leader is somewhat confused about his role, his daughter who wants to be a real estate agent intstead of a stage star, and a choreographer whose swagger is all diva underneath. And yes, enter the new leading man who "can't wait to be king."

As with the Disney films and musicals, a sugar-sweet slapstick chorus backs up the leads, and the show, which lasts about an hour, is a combination of camp, nostalgia for childhood and a vehicle for a cast of very talented stage-y voices. Plus a tap dance. And a magic carpet. Kind of.

Or, as Lin put it: "We have an adorable ensemble. [The characters] live their lives, deal with drama (both kinds), break out into Disney songs to underscore emotionally charged moments throughout the day, and are generally sassy, snarky and punny. The show is a little meta. There are plenty of references to Disney movies, Disneyland, the theater community here and theater in general. It's pretty much our dream show."

And as everyone who grew up on a steady diet of Disney knows: Dreams do come true.

"Disney Revue" plays 8 p.m. Friday Nov. 19 and 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday Nov. 20 at the Adams Pool Theater.

Photos by Brenda Lin '12.

[Caption: Simone Polanen '14, Clare Miller '12, Liz Krane '11, Morgan Henry '14, Cassie Rasmussen '13 and Sarah Erwin '13 sing about falling in love. ]

[Caption: The Choreographer (Emily Hecht '11, right) tries to convince the Leading Lady (Morgan Henry '14, left) to give up theater.]

[Caption: "Don't you dare close your eyes," Jackson Kernion '12 tells Morgan Henry '14 on their "Aladdin"-inspired magic carpet ride. ]