Disney: The Music Behind the Magic 1928-Today, an exhibit held at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, “explores the integral role that music has played in every facet of Disney’s success, from animation and film to TV, radio and Broadway, as well as the record label’s key songs, composers and performers, and their impact on popular music and culture.”
The exhibit starts with the earliest musical works from Disney including the “birth” of Mickey Mouse with his debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928 and covers the 80 years since then. Through the exhibit you will see (as described by the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington):
More than 65 rare artifacts, including animation storyboards, musical charts, rare recordings, sound effects equipment, Mickey Mouse Club outfits, and costumes from theatrical productions such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
Five interpretive films, all of which are being made specifically for the exhibition and feature Disney artists and experts with excerpts of Disney films to illustrate key points:
- The first film explores Disney’s innovative musical storytelling in its early animations, from Steamboat Willie to Bambi.
- The second film examines the critical role of music in Disney’s animation renaissance in the late 1980s, starting with The Little Mermaid; it features filmed interviews with composers Alan Menken and Phil Collins, film critic Leonard Maltin, and other Disney historians.
- The third film looks at the music and making of Mary Poppins, the pinnacle of Disney’s live-action musicals. It includes interviews with the film’s composer, Richard Sherman, as well as other Disney artists and experts.
- The fourth film considers Disney’s musical legacy, exploring its influence and impact on popular music and culture
- The fifth film is a 15-20-minute overview of Disney music shown in our theater and introducing visitors to the exhibit themes and narrative.
Four exciting interactives designed to create hands-on experience for visitors of all ages:
- Name-That-Disney-Tune is a game show in which four contestants or teams test their knowledge of Disney melodies, lyrics, composers and performers.
- Sound Effects Challenge has four visitors work as a team and use Foley equipment to create and record the sound effects for one or two Disney cartoons, then watch the results to judge their future as sound effects experts.
- Remix Disney Hits is a chance for visitors to remix hit songs by Walt Disney Records artists and then compare their mix to the original release.
Wonder Mine did a great job in designing this traveling exhibit. It was laid out nicely, created some good background visuals for the experience, and was very informative – Did you know that in 1937 doctors warned parents that watching the color cartoon Snow White would damage their kids eyes permanently? If you want to experience this exhibit, hurry, it closes at the Norton on September 6th.