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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Christopher's Mail Bag - June 27, 2002

After writing numerous articles, I received some responses, questions and comments. I would like to share them with you. Some of these e-mails are older because I never had enough to create an article like this, nevertheless here are your comments and questions and my responses.

In response to the article, "Disney On Broadway:"

Dear Christopher:

I saw Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin two years ago. And I have been so disappointed (and I am really a big Disney fan). The singing wasn't very good, the acting was bad. Maybe it was because most of the cast were Americans singing in German (and not understanding what they were singing and talking).

Disney hired one of the best writers for musicals in Germany (he translated Phantom, Sunset Boulevard, and more). And he has done a great work for new German musicals, like Dances with Vampire (Polanski's musical), Mozart, Elisabeth (all first started in Vienna great music, great text, great costumes. But unfortunately Disney wanted to have the original German translation translated back in English and then in German again (quite weird, isn't it). And now the German text is so strange and not good at all.

Promotional image from the film  Disney
Promotional image from the film Disney

The only funny things were the gargoyles. Also their costumes were great. I didn't like the other costumes very much. Especially Frollo's and Clopin's costume. Unfortunately you don't find the beautiful colors of the film in this musical. What was very surprising to me was the different end in the musical (I will not tell you, so that you can still be surprised). Also the setting wasn't very good. There are a few good things, but I expected more of the Topsy Turvey number (something like "Be Our Guest" in Beauty) and of the end number.

But I would still say, when you are in Berlin go and see it. But don't expect something like Beauty or Lion King. Maybe my expectations have been too high.

Have a magic day.
Gilbert (Switzerland)

Thank you Gilbert for your commentary on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I have looked into the musical a bit, and was quite surprised with what I found. Most of the surprises are good. I liked how they created the new ending to deal directly from the book and how they rewrote the classic songs such as "Some Day" and "God Help The Outcasts" and I did enjoy the costumes.

It really is a shame to hear that "Topsy Turvy" was not a good number. I always imagined it would be an entertaining one. It's not enough to look at a website for me to give a full commentary, but I would love to see the show. Maybe soon it will debut out here, and they will change the stage production for the better.

In response to "Super Star Limo":

Dear Christopher,

I am amazed to find someone who enjoyed Superstar Limo. I Personally found it to be the absolute worst ride Disney has ever created. I am sure you know it's back story, what it was originally intended to be. It saddens me to see a great idea gutted like that.

I am, however, impressed by your enthusiasm and self-confidence in expressing your own opinion. Good job!

Norm

And...

Hi, I just wanted to pass comment about Christopher's article on Mouseplanet about Superstar Limo. I was very pleased to read such a positive review of a much-maligned attraction. This ride has not deserved the press it has had. I found it a very entertaining and different ride for Disney, allowing the joke to be on the star system of Hollywood, it was thought provoking and funny.

Having attended both the opening of California Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea, the overall judgment about the Californian Park has been harsh to say the least. DCA has a huge amount of potential, and I look forward to its growth. Thank you Christopher for your refreshing outlook.

Regards, Lindsay Cave, senior designer

Superstar Limo exterior
Superstar Limo exterior

To Norm and Lindsay: Thanks for your compliments on my article. I still don't know why people think Superstar Limo is that bad. I suppose it only appeals to some audiences. I know people either hate it or love it, and I really love it. Just as Lindsay said, it is a joke on the star system of Hollywood. Being a performer and doing many things in Hollywood my whole life, I found the ride entertaining and funny with a new refreshed outlook on rides.

Who knows what's happening to it? The Goofy makeover may change the ride from mediocre to good, or mediocre to worse than anyone expected. Even DCA hasn't deserved the press it has received. It's a great park to spend a day. The only problem with DCA is the fact that it costs that much money to get in. $15 dollars cheaper, and we may have another story to tell.

In response to "Indiana Jones":

Enjoyed your review of Indy. But wondered why you did not mention as you are wandering throughout the temple, pole that you can pull and it makes noise or the rope to pull.

To Anonymous Writer: To tell you the truth, I vaguely remember the rope with the person on the end or the pole in the spike room. The last time I completely walked through the queue of the ride (with the chance to stop at every station) has to be four or five years ago.

Promotional art  Disney
Promotional art Disney

When the ride first opened, I used to touch everything and do everything there was to do in the queue since there was such a long wait. But now with the FastPass and other ways of missing the long waits, I glide right past those things.

In response to "Aida":

Christopher:

Ok, I'm jealous you got to see the show with understudies. I'm the Resident Advisor for a floor of first-year college students and I recently organized a trip for 60 of us to go see Aida. We all agreed that Patrick Cassidy was flat and could not hold pitch basically the entire time.

We did see the same understudy you saw for Aida and Nehebka, but I would love to see it again knowing in advance that there would be another Radames. But you have to admit, Amneris was amazing, and the "Strongest Suit" sequence was astounding. Thanks for your review, it makes a great addition to mouseplanet's site.

Keep up the good work, and thanks again!
Sydney

To Sydney: Thanks for your kind words, and yes, Patrick Cassidy is horrible at the role of Radames. I'm surprised they even let him in the cast. Shortly after Aida closed, I downloaded a small segment of "Elaborate Lives" sung by Patrick Cassidy and Simone during a performance off of the Internet. Cassidy was horrible! I'm sorry, but he is flat. The understudy did a much better job than he. In defense of Cassidy, however, "Fortune Favors the Brave" and "Elaborate Lives" are difficult to sing, trust me I've tried, but a professional singer should not have any problems.

Amneris is my favorite person in the whole production. She has so much character development and such a great voice. Kelli Fournier did an excellent job in her role, and I must applaud her for that. "The Strongest Suit" sequence was amazing, as are many of the songs in that production that she sings such as "Every Story Is a Love Story," and "I Know The Truth."

CLICK HERE FOR DESKTOPS
Promotional art Disney - Photos by Joan Marcus of the original Broadway production
These photos are of desktops you can download at the official site - click on this LINK or the photo above to go to it

Hi Chris,

Thank you for writing a review of Aida for MousePlanet it was great to see it included there. I wanted to let you know, however, that after reading what you wrote, I have to strongly recommend that you go to New York to see the original. I too saw the Ahmanson production with almost the same understudies as you, and was floored at how awful it was.

This is my favorite show too but you wouldn't believe the difference on Broadway. It's too late to see Heather Headley, who was amazing as Aida, but it's not too late to see Adam Pascal as Radames and Edina (from Rent) as Amneris. Even the ensemble in NY is much tighter in dance and so much more focused on their performances, which lends an intensity to the show that the touring company simply does not possess.

As far as Jason Workman vs. Patrick Cassidy, I understand that they are both unbearable in the part. It really makes me wonder what kind of casting director would allow those individuals to take such demanding roles. At any rate, I hope you can make it to New York to see the Broadway cast; you will be glad you did.

Take care!
Kelly O'Connor

To Kelly: I do one day hope to see the New York cast of Aida. I can imagine anybody in that cast must be excellent, because they are on the Great White Way, are more focused and know the basics better since they stay in one theater and don't really tour the country. Personally, I liked the show and thought it was pretty good but hearing you compare the show I saw to the NY version makes me want to go see how good the NY version can actually be. Heather Headley is great at Aida, she is Aida, and it is sad to see her gone from the stage. Adam Pascal is my all-time favorite Broadway actor. He brought some of my favorite stage characters to life (such as Roger from Rent and Radames from Aida) and I have to commend him on his work and his talent. I would love to see him in an actual performance.

In response to "Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition":

Just read the article. A few notes:

1) The vibration you experienced isn't standard. I've seen it twice in large format and had no problems on either occasion. It was probably a sprocket issue on the projector.

2) The next large format will be the Lion King. The ads are now on the front of the Beauty and the Beast prints at the large format screens (at least the Irvine location).

David

Promotional art  Disney
Promotional art Disney

To David: That shaking annoyed everyone in the theater. Me, being a nice guy, I didn't complain too much. I was looking forward to seeing the trailer for the Lion King before the movie, but it never came on. It was weird. Like I said in my article though, seeing it on that big screen is great but the extra footage is what made it wonderful.

Coming Soon:
"Christmas in July"


Christopher's Disney Trivia: Aida was originally going to be called Elaborate Lives


Have any questions, comments or suggestions for future columns? Drop me a line at coolkids@mouseplanet.com. I'd really enjoy hearing from you!

Christopher's Mail Bag - June 27, 2002

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hi!
My name is Christopher.

I am thirteen years old and live with my family in Southern California. I am currently a high school student, and an avid fan of Disneyland Resort. Other than visiting the "Happiest Place On Earth," I have numerous hobbies, the most significant of which is acting.

Acting has always been a major hobby of mine. I have been participating in numerous plays, movies and productions all of my life, and hope to eventually accomplish my dreams of becoming a famous actor. Some of my recent works include productions of The King and I, Shakespeare- Enough Already, and Ebeneezer. Other than acting, I enjoy playing the alto saxophone for my high school jazz band, playing the keyboard / piano, listening to music (especially the Rent soundtrack), and visiting the Disneyland Resort.

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