Review: Disney in Concert: ‘Tale as Old as Time’ With the Wolf Trap Orchestra

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On the first cool evening in the DC area in a while, what better way to spend it than at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap? Tonight’s concert, Disney in Concert’s Tale as Old as Time, with the Wolf Trap Orchestra, mixed well-loved music and film clips from Disney classics and put on a show perfect for the entire family.

Disney in Concert put together this newest concert event featuring the music and animation for which Disney is so well-known. While film clips from some of the most popular films (such as Frozen, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast) played on giant screens, the Wolf Trap Orchestra, under the direction of well-known Pops conductor Dirk Hillyer, played various themes and accompanied singers Juliana Hansen, Laura D’Andre, John DeLisa, and Eric LaJuan Summers as they performed those famous Disney songs.

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As the lights came down and the orchestra played that famous Disney theme over the image of the iconic Disney castle, there were excited “oohs” and “aahs” from all across the Filene Center. The first piece was the orchestral “Disney Memories Overture,” a medley of songs from Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, and others, to get the evening started right. In a somewhat surprising—but wholly positive—choice that added a freshness to the medley, they used Peter Pan’s “Second Star to the Right” as the main theme, rather than the lovely “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

The vocalists were then introduced, singing a variety of songs from Tangled. Hansen and Summers hit their duet of “I See the Light” out of the park, with a vocal strength and emotional sincerity that made the duet one the highlights of the night. D’Andre then sang “Reflection” from Mulan, with a strong pop sensibility that really pleased the crowd, as she navigated the vocal riffs with ease. DeLisa then introduced the “Enchanted Helpers Medley” by singing a hilarious version of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin, complete with appropriate dance moves, to the crowd’s delight.

Act 2 was one highlight after another, as Summers and D’Andre sang a moving version of “Beauty and the Beast,” and later Summers sang “Circle of Life” with an energy and power that brought many of the audience to their feet. The orchestra also showed off their skill by tackling “Battle with the Forces of Evil” from Sleeping Beauty, as the climactic fight between Prince Phillip and Maleficent played on the giant screens. The combination of such an emotional piece paired with the superlative animation was for me, the highlight of the night.

Yet for the many little girls in the audience in their “Elsa” costumes (and many adults as well), the best part of the night was the “Frozen Medley.” Hansen was an endearing “Anna” as she sang the plaintive “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and joyous “For the First Time in Forever,” and DeLisa’s comic skills again came to the fore with his cover of “In Summer.” And of course, how can we not mention the superb “Let It Go” with solo by D’Andre and backup from the other three vocalists. By the amount of applause at the end, they more than lived up to Idina Menzel’s version!

With these reinterpretations of classic Disney songs, in such a lovely setting as the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, Tale as Old as Time was a fantastic start to the Labor Day weekend. I left wanting to rewatch almost all the Disney films showcased—a tribute to the skill of the fantastic orchestra, the singers, and the concert itself.

Running Time: Two hours, with a 10-minute intermission.

Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time with the Wolf Trap Orchestra played for one-night-only on Friday, September 2, 2016, at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts– 1635 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future Wolf Trap events, go to their calendar.

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