Disney Concerts just gave us one more reason to get dressed up in ball gowns, crowns, and tiaras with Disney Princess – The Concert. Traveling to more than 80 cities, the concert takes some of the most popular songs sung by heroines in the Disney films with a cast of Broadway stars and even one Broadway icon and (literal) Disney Legend.
Is this tour worth the price of admission? Keep reading this Disney Princess – The Concert review to find out!
On Saturday February 12, 2022 I was finally able to attend the long-awaited “Disney Princess – The Concert”.
Syndee Winters, Anneliese van der Pol, Arielle Jacobs, and the amazing Susan Egan took the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona with the aid of composer/arranger Benjamin Rauhala and “Disney Prince” Adam J. Levy. I enjoyed how this small cast guided the audience through the Disney musical catalog, from well-known Disney songs like “Part of Your World” and “Let It Go” and then to Broadway originals like “Shadowland” from The Lion King Broadway musical. The song that was most surprising to many in attendance was the inclusion of “Journey to the Past” from its newly acquired film and princess, Anastasia. (We definitely predicted it, though.)
Growing up as a Disney fanatic, the Disney Princess ideal is almost hardwired into my core memories. So it was precious to see so many little princesses twirling in front of the theatre and waiting for their pictures to be taken. There were cheers of Disney and Broadway fans of all ages. Though, I would say it is a majority little girls and their parents with the mixed in adult super fan. I didn’t see any cosplay or ball gowns. The Disney Concert production chose the Orpheum Theatre for its Phoenix stop, which was the perfect spot with its opulent garden murals, gold accents and grand staircases.
Each of the cast members performed their parts well. Arielle Jacobs sang songs from both the film and Broadway versions of Aladdin, Mulan, and Moana. I was very impressed with her vocal control and presence. It was fun to see That’s So Raven star Anneliese Van Der Pol take on songs from Tangled as well as Syndee Winters singing The Princess and the Frog and The Lion King, and “Love is an Open Door.”
Susan Egan was the voice I was most looking forward to hearing in person and she didn’t disappoint. Aside from the expected songs from Beauty and the Beast and Hercules (songs from roles she originated on Broadway and film, respectively), I loved hearing her as Mother Gothel singing “Mother Knows Best.”
That being said, while I enjoyed the show, I still felt like there was something missing to make it excellent. I remember thinking to myself, “‘We Don’t Talk about Bruno’ is hitting the charts in real time, I’m surprised they haven’t taken advantage of the trend and added it to the set list. If I were watching a band, they would be following the trends”
The whole show was professional and “by the book.” What I felt was missing was a moment of audience connection and participation. There were a couple moments where I thought they tried to get people clapping but it wasn’t enough time and space for the audience to catch on. The pacing could have used one song or even an extended chorus of a song that was meant to be a sing-along (“follow the bouncing Mickey” style). It’s those little things that take a show from something I enjoy watching to something that makes me feel immersed.
Disney Princess – The Concert ran about 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission, which gave room for a costume change from the short cocktail dresses into glamorous evening gowns. I thought it was a full show that covered most songs that you would expect and want in a Disney concert as well as a few pleasant surprises. The talent alone deserves your time and attention. I enjoyed this experience and looking around, it felt like most people did as well.
The origins of the concert are interesting and worth noting. Back in 2015, Benjamin Rauhala first posted a video on his YouTube channel on his arrangements of some Disney staple songs with performed by some of the original broadway “Princesses” at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City. It’s a place that describes themselves as “Broadway’s living room, a home away from home for Broadway professionals and audiences alike. With pre-theatre dinner offered nightly.” The venue is basically a very posh piano lounge and the whole series was called “The Broadway Princess Party”. Whether you are able to attend Disney Princess – The Concert, or not, you should definitely check those out.
Now that I have done more research on shows at 54 Below, I can understand why some superfans might not think this is worth the admission because “It’s Not the Same” and I’ll give that to them. It isn’t the same because it’s a different show. The first was in a piano lounge and this is in a large theatre. Most, like myself, never had the opportunity to experience the original show and this is a great way bring it to a wider audience. I know there are some things that I would change to add a little bit more of that connection with the audience, but I think turning away completely would be silly because… it’s still Susan Egan on a stage in front of you singing “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” and that’s enough for me.
Anyone who grew up belting Disney power ballads at the top of their lungs will absolutely love The Disney Princess – The Concert. Each of these songs are bonafide classics and pop culture staples, so whether you are a Disney fan or not, you’ll still enjoy a night at the theater experiencing the splendor and artistry in the songs and performances in the most Disney way possible.
The Disney Princess – The Concert tour visits over 80 cities in the US through the Spring and Fall of 2022. Tickets can be purchased here. For even more snippets from the show, you can check our full Instagram story highlight from the night.