Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Phone Conference with Disney Legends!

Alan Menken & Richard Sherman

         Is there a Disney fan anywhere, or anyone for that matter that doesn’t know the music of Disney legends Alan Menken and Richard Sherman? I defy you now to sing along when you hear any song from “Mary Poppins,” “Jungle Book”,  “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast”, or their non Disney accomplishments such as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” or “Little Shop of Horrors.”  Today I was thrilled to be a part of a conference call with these two amazing talents all leading up to their concert at D23 this Saturday. Both gracious, easygoing and down to earth, they shared for a better part of an hour what it has been like to be a part of the history of music through the years.  Here’s a little background of these two extraordinary talents:

Richard M. Sherman and his brother Robert B. Sherman composed some of the most beloved songs in the Disney canon. The Disney Legends won two Oscars® for their work on Mary Poppins, and during their decades–long association with Disney they wrote more than 200 songs for 27 films and two dozen television productions. They made unforgettable contributions to such Disney films as The Parent Trap, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and the entire Winnie the Pooh series, as well as the family classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They also penned beloved songs for Disney Parks including the theme songs for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, It’s a Small World, and Carousel of Progress. Richard wrote the song “Make Way for Tomorrow Today” for the blockbuster film Iron Man 2.

With eight Academy Awards, Alan Menken has received more Oscars than any living person. He has written songs and scores for some of the world’s most beloved films: TangledEnchanted, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Little Shop of Horrors, Home on the Range and Newsies. His song “Star Spangled Man,” was the patriotic anthem of the 2011 hit film Captain America: The First Avenger. Menken’s Broadway successes include his 2012 Tony Award® for Newsies, plus The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, and Sister Act. His other stage productions include King David, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and his latest stage production Aladdin: The New Musical, opening next year.

“Richard Sherman and I share so many things; our cherished association with The Walt Disney Company, the blessing of having the opportunity to share our musical talents with “children of all ages” and a genuine mutual admiration—but one thing we’ve never gotten to share is a concert stage,” said Menken. “This summer at the D23 Expo 2013, we will do just that. And I can’t think of anyone I’d prefer to share that stage with. Richard, along with his brother Robert, wrote songs that filled my formative years with joy and fantasy. And, all these years later, I can say with complete honesty that there is no one I’ve met in our business who is more warm and generous than my friend and fellow songwriter, Richard Sherman.”
        Attendees of the 2013 D23 Expo will have the opportunity to attend this very unique event on a first-come, first-served basis; admission to the Expo is required. The event will take place in the 4,000 seat D23 Expo Arena and will also be simulcast into a 2,000-seat overflow theater inside the Anaheim Convention Center.

And now for just a few of the highlights from the telephone conference with these two talented men:

Richard Sherman’s favorite song is “Feed the Birds” as it meant so much to Walt Disney.

Alan Menken is very fond of the song “Will The Sun Ever Shine Again?” which was inspired by his emotions and feelings following 9-11

Richard Sherman’s favorite song of Alan Menken’s is “Suddenly Seymour from “Little Shop of Horrors” and  “Part of Your World” . Alan Menken’s Favorite song of Richard Sherman’s is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” of Mary Poppins fame

Menken shared that he considers Sherman “A dear friend…extraordinarily supportive in my relationship with Disney.”

Sherman shared with us : "I have a good time ... I'm 85 years old, but don't feel like it. I have my health and enthusiasm for what I do. ... People get joy out of my work and that is my reward, truly my reward." And when asked if he thought his brother would be joining in on Saturday night at their joint concert, he responded “My brother Robert wasn't the performer, but he'd be up on stage with us Saturday participating in some of the choruses if he was still with us. Robert Sherman died on March 6, 2012.

Alan Menken said a Disney animated musical "doesn't get written without us. The story is driven by songs."

Saturday, fans at D23 will be treated to the two legends performing together.  When asked about the concert, Menken and Sherman had this to say:
Concert will be in three parts: Each will play separately, and then join in a chat about the work, but no duets. It will be special get together, featuring some favorite pieces as well as a couple of non-Disney things, too.

Richard Sherman further shared: ... we're going to do songs that have meaning to us and to Disney fans.

He says he'll be preforming an obscure song he's proud of ... "it'll be a surprise, something people won't be expecting."

Want to hear more, check back later as we add in the audio link to this fascinating phone call with two of the all time greats!

Going to D23? Be sure not to miss their show This once-in-a-lifetime event, entitled “Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook,” will take place Saturday, August 10, as part of the Ultimate Disney Fan Event at the Anaheim Convention Center. The concert will take place inside the 4,000-seat D23 Expo Arena and will be simulcast into a 2,000-seat overflow theater inside the Convention Center. And to hear today’s entire phone conference, check out the link for our friends at

Relive the Magic Podcast

Gayle is a Disney Gal that loves churros for breakfast, still gets giddy with delight at the first sight of the “Disneyland next exit sign”, loves the overwhelming emotions and memories that come with each and every return to the Happiest Place on Earth and dreams of one day being the Captain of the Jungle Boat. To learn more about Gayle, click here


  1. It was an amazing experience. I felt like I not only knew Richard Sherman better, but I knew Walt better.
    I am so curious as to Sherman's song. It kills me I won't be able to be there to find out what it is.
    Great post!

  2. Becca I will text you live from the Concert! How amazingly down to earth and gracious they both were. It was like sitting around and talking to long time friends!

  3. Cool conference call but I think "Suddenly Seymour" is from Little Shop of Horrors and not Rocky Horror Picture Show. Big difference!

  4. Thanks Laura!!! You are so right and I had the right show at the beginning of the article-not sure what happened there but I so appreciate you letting me know! Guess I will still excited!

  5. What a great article Gayle!! Love all the info, wish we could be there with you!

  6. Great article Gayle! What an exciting way to start off this incredible week!! I love that Richard's favorite song is "Feed the Birds" because of what it meant to Walt. ♥ Mary Poppins songs are some of my most favorite too. You are gonna have a wonderful time at that concert. I will be waiting with baited breath for that report :-)


  7. Thanks Suz! Can't wait to hear all about the "Plane" advanced screening you went to tonight!

  8. This is great! Where do you find this stuff?