Monday, January 6, 2014

From CINDERELLA to FROZEN: 21 Broadway Voices Overtake Disney One Classic at a Time

Lea Salonga
Happy Monday! Last week, I talked about the uncanny similarities between Disney's newest animated musical, Frozen and Wicked the Broadway musical. Besides Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel, Broadway veterans Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, and Santino Fontana also lent their voices to the Scandinavian princess tale. That's an unusually large number of legitimately famous Broadway names in a Disney movie, and I am so proud of Disney for fully utilizing Broadway talents like this.

It feels like the first time Disney has really enlisted Broadway help, but did you know that many of the most successful Disney musicals in the last few years have used Broadway voices? Because of my love for Disney and Broadway, it seems fitting that my first post of 2014 should be about both. Check out this list below!**

Cinderella: Marni Nixon (IMDb) (known mostly for singing as Maria in the West Side Story movie and as Eliza in the My Fair Lady movie)- as ensemble

Oliver and CompanyBette Midler- sang "Perfect isn't Easy"

Little Mermaid*: Tim Curry (original Frank 'n' Furter in The Rocky Horror Show)- as emsemble

Beauty and the Beast*: Angela Lansbury (5-time Tony Award-winner, known for Mame, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd)- as Mrs. Potts; Jerry Orbach (original Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway)- as Lumiere; Liz Callaway (original Ellen in Miss Saigon on Broadway)- as ensemble

Aladdin*: Lea Salonga (original Kim in Miss Saigon on Broadway and the West End)- as Jasmine singing voice; Craig A. Meyer (Meet Me in St. Louis OBC)- as additional voice for "A Whole New World"

Lion King*: Matthew Broderick (original Leo Bloom in The Producers, J. Pierrpont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival)- as Simba; Nathan Lane (original Max Bialostock in The Producers, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum revival, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls revival)- as Timon, and Jeremy Irons as Scar.

PochahontasJudy Kuhn (original Cosette in Les Miserables on Broadway)- as Pochahontas

HerculesSusan Egan (original Belle in Beauty and the Beast)- as Meg

Mulan: Lea Salonga- as Mulan; Harvey Fierstein (original Edna Turnblad in Hairspray)- as Yao; Marni Nixon- as Grandmother Fa (singing voice)

FrozenIdina Menzel (Wicked)- as Elsa; Santino Fontana (currently Prince Topher in Cinderella)- as Prince Hans; Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening)- as Christophe; Josh Gad (Book of Mormon)- as Olaf; The following are billed as "additional voices": Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), Maia Nkenge Wilson (Book of Mormon), Lewis Cleale (BOM), Jennifer Perry (Kinky Boots), Benjamin Schrader (BOM).

...and this is just the ones in animated movies, which does not include people like Dean Jones (who was in many live-action Disney movies and in the original Broadway cast of Company) or Max Casella (who was in the Newsies movie then played Timon in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King).

Additionally, Disney has a tendency to include winks to past Disney greats in their newest movies, like when Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid), Judy Kuhn (the voice of Pochahontas), Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast), and more all appeared in Enchanted. They continued that tradition in FrozenJesse Corti, better known to Disney fans as the voice of Lefou in Beauty and the Beast provided his vocal talents to this newest animated musical.

(Random tangent: Corti made his Broadway debut a few years before Beauty and the Beast in the original Broadway cast of- wait for it- Les Miserables as Courfeyrac/ensemble. Having come 19 years into his film career, his role in Beauty and the Beast was hardly his big break and has been followed by another successful 22 years of screen appearances. However, he never returned to the Broadway stage after Les Miserables.)

Below, watch some old footage of classic Disney voice actors whose voices you've known your whole life.

Do you know any other Broadway actors who have worked with Disney or vice versa?

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

Read More: everything Broadway everything movies

*indicates a Disney movie which has been/has plans to be on Broadway.
**after publishing, some of my readers informed me that they wanted to know more about which characters each actor voiced. I added that information on 3/25/14. And I know I still didn't get them all!

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