Meet the team that brought Disney’s “Encanto” to the Hollywood Bowl for a live theatrical concert experience
When plans were made to bring the magic of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” to the Hollywood Bowl, making sure the magic was seen AND heard was the goal.
On two nights in mid-November of this year, fans of the movie who got tickets to watch Encanto LIVE at the Hollywood Bowl were treated to much more than just a typical live score-to-film concert. They were created to be an experience that will soon be able to be watched on Disney+.
“When we brought the idea to Disney, they immediately thought it would make for an amazing addition to Disney+,” said showrunner and executive producer Sally Wood. “That collaboration alone allowed us to go all-out and turn it into something very theatrical.”
And ‘all-out’ was what they decided to do, which included them turning the iconic Hollywood Bowl stage into a two-story Casita seen in the film. It was complete with the magical doors of each of the family Madrigal’s members that were given a gift, and a powerful projection system that turned the Hollywood Bowl shell into the facade of the casita itself.
With the orchestra that played the score live elevated on the second floor of the casita, the first floor was turned into a performance stage so that performers, both actors and dancers, could perform as if they were really in the animated film itself.
Choreographers Kai Martinez and Jamal Sims were tasked with organizing the hundreds of bodies on stage that needed to be in lock-step with each musical number in the film that was being performed. The challenges for both of them were in all the unknown factors of the production: designing the moves over Zoom video calls and even the stage design itself.
“We didn’t know how it would all work together, but we knew it needed to,” said Sims. With the help of the film’s directors and talent, it allowed the team to capture in movement the essence of why the film was so special in the first place. “We approached each musical number with that in mind to create dances that really just supported this great story,” added Martinez.
The special concert event was only made more special thanks in large part to having the original voice talent from “Encanto” on hand to perform their songs live. One of them, Adassa, who played Dolores, said that it was special for them too because that was the first time that the cast could see each other in person, let alone perform together. “It was like a big family reunion. To be a part of the film and then this only made this whole experience even more of an honor to be included in,” Adassa said.