While I’m really looking forward to learning more about Disney’s and Pixar’s upcoming animation slate at the D23 Expo 2013 this weekend, I am also really stoked for “The Disney Songbook” concert starring celebrated songwriters and long-time Disney collaborators Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken happening at 6:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, August 10 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.
These guys wrote the soundtrack to my childhood (and I’m sure they did the same for you, too). Between the two of them, they have written music for over three dozen Disney films, have written songs for over two dozen attractions at Disney Parks around the world, have opened multiple musicals on Broadway, and together have won a combined 10 Academy Awards for their work for Disney.
In a conference call this week, Mr. Sherman and Mr. Menken both expressed their admiration for each other, their excitement for the upcoming concert, and their respect for Walt Disney and Walt Disney Studios.
“Walt set a high standard, a high mark to work for” said Mr. Sherman, who had the privilege, along with his brother Robert B. Sherman, of working directly with Walt Disney himself on many projects. “Walt created wholesome, beautiful entertainment that lifts the spirit. We were lucky to have done that kind of work.”
Alan Menken echoed that sentiment. “I’ve been lucky to be involved with a studio that is so supportive of non-cynical material…It’s such a unique opportunity as a songwriter.”
In the concert, Mr. Menken and Mr. Sherman will each have a solo set with only their voice and a piano. They also told us that they will be on stage together for a special set at the end of the concert. As far as the set list goes, they didn’t share any specifics, other than it will be a “potpourri–a sampling of various things from over the years.” While most of the music will be from their Disney work (the concert is called “The Disney Songbook” after all), each of them said that songs from some of their non-Disney projects might also make an appearance.
When asked what their favorite songs were, Mr. Menken said that it is difficult to choose, stating that “my songs are like my children.” When asked about which of each other’s songs they loved the most, Mr. Menken said he was particularly fond of the Sherman Brothers’ work on The Jungle Book. Mr. Sherman said he loved Menken’s “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid and also “Suddenly Seymour” from one of Menken’s non-Disney projects Little Shop of Horrors.
They both shared their gratitude for being a part of the great “exclusive club” of composers that have worked with the Walt Disney Studios over the years. And they are both very excited to be performing this concert for Disney’s biggest fans. “It’s like singing for relatives,” said Mr. Sherman. “It’s a great feeling. You can’t lose.”
Admission to the concert will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is included in the price of a ticket to the D23 Expo. In addition to the 4,000-seat D23 Expo Arena, the concert will be simulcast into a 2,000-seat overflow theater inside the Convention Center.
For more information, visit the D23 Expo website.
Are you going to the D23 Expo 2013? Let us know in the comments below.