Some stories have the ability to bring generations together.
“I saw this movie in theaters when I was your age,” said a mother to her daughter, who was dressed in Belle’s iconic yellow gown as they filed into the Musco Center at Chapman University.
The venue was alive with Disney fans young and old Sept. 29 for the first-ever “Beauty and the Beast” Live in Concert event that paired the Chapman Orchestra with professionals from the American Federation of Musicians. The tale as old as time, with music from the award-winning score by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Sir Tim Rice, marked the first, but not the last, collaborative performance of the 2018-19 season.
“This special screening speaks to and inspires the arts on many levels,” said Richard T. Bryant, Musco Center executive director. “Not only is it great fun for the entire community, but it is also a chance for Chapman students to engage with and learn from professional musicians.”
The 1991 film is a timeless classic and the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (it didn’t win). As the movie started and the orchestra began to play, an awed hush filled the room as first-time viewers and devoted fans were swept away by the tremendous magic of “Beauty and the Beast.” The musicians were nearly flawless throughout the film’s 84-minute run, receiving thunderous applause and a well-earned standing ovation. The audience laughed, cheered and even sang along to the likes of “Belle,” “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest.” The event was a towering success and a truly unique way to experience the beloved film, whether it was one’s first or 50th viewing.
“I’ve played in musicals before, but I’ve never done anything as extravagant as this,” said one Chapman University Orchestra member. “[This venue] is so beautiful and getting to work with professionals and students who are so motivated is a really great opportunity.”
The Musco Center prides itself on offering performing arts students numerous chances to work with elite musicians throughout the school year in a wide array of genres. “‘Beauty and the Beast’ marks the first of many collaborations between our students and professional musicians this season,” said Dr. Giulio Ongaro, dean of Chapman University’s College of the Performing Arts. “A program like this is extremely valuable for the professional development of our students. Given the importance of orchestral music in the film industry, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is an opportunity for Chapman students to gain hands-on experience in the professional musical landscape.”
Upcoming performances will have students working with the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra (Oct. 7) and renowned jazz and blues singer Barbara Morrison (Nov. 13).
See all events and purchase tickets at http://muscocenter.org.
By Megan Feighery