Symphony brings Disney classics to life

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Andrew Johnson has always been a Disney kid at heart. “My parents made sure we had the latest Disney movies when they came out. The music is very human and it appeals to everyone. The music is timeless and you are going to be affected by Disney music no matter what age group or nationality you are,” Johnson said.

So when he got the chance to audition for “Disney In Concert: Magical Music From the Movies,” he jumped at the chance.

AndrewJohnson
ANDREW JOHNSON

“Auditions were held in Los Angeles with 40 or 50 invitation-only people who have done Broadway theatrical shows before,” said Johnson, 24 who has toured with the show since 2009. “Disney is some of the most beautiful music to sing and with an 80-piece live orchestra; it was an opportunity that was too good to be true.”

Johnson, who hails from Nappa Valley, Calif., has been performing since he was a teenager. Since that time, he has toured worldwide as a lead soloist and dancer. He has performed with Erykah Badu and his idol, Patti LaBelle. He recently performed at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards with Florence and the Machine. He will be releasing an album on iTunes in the fall titled “Green Eyes.” When he isn’t moving audiences with his voice in the Disney tour, Johnson works as a performer at the original Disneyland Resort in California doing six shows a day five days a week.

Although he has a grueling schedule, Johnson is happy to be a part of this unique Disney adventure.

“There’s no separation between the audience, the symphony and the singers it’s very interactive and is enjoyable to everyone,” Johnson said.

“Disney In Concert: Magical Music From the Movies” will feature several musical scores from popular Disney movies including “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Mary Poppins” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” all while showcasing artist renderings and film clips of the productions. Feature vocalists for the magical show include Johnson, Whitney Claire Kaufman, Aaron Phillips and Candice Nicole.

There will be about 70 years of Disney music played in the show.

“The other three vocalists are stellar in their own right. Disney is a family-oriented show and everyone feels good when they leave,” Johnson said.

Disney in Concert; Magical Music From the Movies was created by Ted Ricketts who worked as musical director, producer and arranger of live music for Walt Disney World in Florida for 24 years. He enjoys working with large film ensembles through either studio recording or live music events.

“Disney is music that everyone knows and grew up with,” said Ricketts who resides in California.

Most of Disney music is mainly written for orchestras so it’s a nice fit for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra because they are featured quite a bit. About 20-25 percent of the show is strictly instrumental. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will be led by resident conductor Lawrence Loh.

The magical show will be hitting the Heinz Hall stage for a four-night run beginning April 14 at 7:30 p.m.; April 15 at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; April 16 at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and April 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $20 to $89 and can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or by visiting http://www.pittsburghsymphony.org.

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