Q&A with Ben Rauhala, music director for Disney Princess – The Concert
Back in 2015, Ben Rauhala and a few of his famous Disney Princess friends like Susan Egan (who voiced Meg in Disney Animation’s “Hercules” and many Broadway musicals) came together to put on a series of semi-private Disney Princess concert parties.
One of those concerts got recorded and became a viral hit on YouTube, so what started as a niche cabaret thing quickly became a fully produced event that’s currently touring the United States.
We interviewed Rauhala while on tour, who is Disney Princess – The Concert’s music director for more about how it all came to be, and what’s next for the wildly popular princess events.
DE: How did these concerts become such a big thing after the cabaret origins?
BR: It so happened in 2021 that Disney was also looking to really highlight their Disney Princess franchise across the company already, and they immediately thought of us to become part of that campaign. We already had been doing our cabaret concerts successfully, so it was serendipitous timing, I suppose.
DE: What is Disney Princess – The Concert in your eyes?
BR: It’s not a bunch of girls who sing these songs, but these true princesses who got a part of a lifetime playing these Disney princesses. They are real people, and they get to not only embody their royalty, but share about their real lives as well which adds to their performances on tour.
DE: What role(s) do you play for these concerts?
BR: I am the music director for the shows, so I play keyboard and play the custom orchestral tracks that were recorded in Nashville for our arrangements of the famous Disney princess songs. I also get to play Fairy Godfairy in the program, which is a lot of fun playing make-believe with my girls.
DE: Who are girls on tour with you for the concerts?
BH: Basically any girl who played a Disney princess either in a filmed project or stage production. Susan Egan is our executive producer, but she also is a performer, along with Anneliese van der Pol (Beauty and the Beast on Broadway), Arielle Jacobs (Aladdin on Broadway), Syndee Winters (The Lion King on Broadway), Adam Levy (our prince for the shows), and more.
DE: What’s the touring concert experience like?
BH: It’s a cabaret-style concert kind of fused with the personality of a Broadway show. We have the girls go back and forth between setting up songs with real-life stories and then performing them to beautiful animations and visuals behind them. Add our arrangements of the songs and it just becomes a beautiful and magical evening together.
DE: Is the show geared toward younger audiences?
BH: In the few shows that we’ve put on so far, we’ve noticed that the concert audiences have included many younger audiences and their moms. We thought that it would make for a different experience than we imagined for older audiences as the girls get to share in more cabaret-style, but they all seem to love it, so we’ll keep it going!
DE: What happens after the tours are done?
BH: I think we have a lot of opportunities to do much more to bring this experience to everyone. We’ve just released some singles with our versions of a “Frozen” medley, and we’re in active talks with people at Disney+. There’s lots of potential, but until all those things happen, we’ll just keep on traveling and singing with my best girl friends!
Tickets for Disney Princess – The Concert are now available with stops in a city near you. Find tour dates and stops on the official website.
Our special thanks to Ben Rauhala for contributing to this story!