What makes Disney's D23 so special is not the big shows or the huge expositions that tend to overwhelm. Nope, for me its always been the little things that I find exceptional. Meeting old friends and colleagues and talking to the fans. This for me, has always been the essence of the show that celebrates all things Disney.
I've just returned from D23, and I'll confess I didn't see all that much. Not that I didn't want to, mind you. It's just that when I attend such functions it's always about personal interaction and less about the show. Although I will confess that Richard Sherman and Alan Menken put on one heck of a show Saturday night. These are the guys who have pretty much written the soundtrack of our lives, and I've had the pleasure of working with both. When I spoke with Richard a few weeks ago I knew about the upcoming show. How do you prepare for such an event, I wondered? Before I could ask Richard the question I realized that the amazing composer had spent a lifetime preparing for the show. And, that's what we all do, I suppose. We spend a lifetime preparing for what we do. That's why it tends to look so effortless to those looking on.
As I said, D23 tends to be all about conversation. Of course, that includes fans as well as “big shots.” Backstage before the show, I find I'm just as much a fanboy as everybody else. Getting to meet stars such as John Goodman and Billy Crystal is still a thrill, and reuniting with old friends such as Mary Costa and Anika Noni Rose remains a delight for this old veteran. I'll confess I've always dug the special vibe of backstage. I've felt this way since I was a kid at Santa Barbara High School putting on school plays. I think I knew even then I would one day play in the big leagues of Hollywood and the wonderful world of show business would be my sand box.
The woman in the photograph below is the wonderful and talented, Mary Costa. I suppose you already know she was the speaking and singing voice of Walt Disney's “Sleeping Beauty.” Mary and I go way back. Before she even voiced Aurora/ Briar Rose I watched her do live television commercials over at CBS Television City in Hollywood. We were both barely out of our teens and already enjoying the world of television and movie making. It's hard to believe that's been over fifty years ago, but as Mary said to me this past weekend, “I just keep moving forward.”
You'll see Mary Costa in the photograph below. I've placed her next to an illustration of Briar Rose, the young girl she voiced in the movie. Many years have passed since that magical time back in the fifties but we still remember fondly the thrill of working with Walt Disney and the talented army of artists that gave life to the magical fairy tale. Like everything that happens in life this year's D23 is finally over. The magic of Disney, however, will last forever.