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Issue 6May. 6, 2021
In today’s issue we take a look ahead to all the movie musicals coming out in 2021 and the Department of Cinemusicalization continues the Disney animated musical breakdown with a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast.

Also, we are excited to announce that our next issue will feature an interview with Don Hahn, producer of Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

• A good read on the 10 year struggle to bring In The Heights to the big screen [Variety]

• Patrick Dempsey will return for his role in Disenchanted, and this time he will be singing. [Coming Soon]

• Also joining the Disenchanted cast are Maya Rudolph, Yvette Nicole Brown & Jayma Mays. Here’s hoping we get to hear the dulcet tones of Maya Rudolph’s singing voice! [Deadline]

• Lin-Manuel Miranda’s animated musical, Vivo, has found a home on Netflix. And there's a short teaser. Lin-Manuel makes a cute monkey. [Deadline]

• Did you catch the West Side Story teaser that aired during the Oscars? Those shadows. Those costumes. We’re here for it. [YouTube]

We will return to our streaming musical highlights in the next issue. In the meantime, check out at all the musical movies and series coming out this year. 
 
Title Date Service
Best Summer Ever Now Available TVOD
HSMTMTS Season 2 5/14/2021 Disney+
Vivo 6/3/2021 Netflix
In The Heights 6/11/2021 HBOMax & Theatrical
Annette 7/6/2021 (France) Prime Video & Theatrical
Schmigadoon (Series) 7/16/2021 AppleTV+
Cinderella 7/16/2021 Theatrical
Dear Evan Hansen 9/24/2021 Theatrical
West Side Story 12/10/2021 Theatrical
Encanto 12/24/2021 Disney+ & Theatrical
Tick, Tick... Boom! Late 2021 Netflix
Matilda Late 2021 Netflix
Beauty and the Beast, the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture, is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s chock-full of music, weighing in at 25% singing, second only to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. From a storytelling perspective it learns from the mistakes of its predecessor and gives our heroine a real arc, keeping her an active participant throughout. 

This movie is very much about toxic masculinity, with both Gaston and Beast starting off as horrible men who expect women to bow to their whims. Ultimately one of them changes and one does not, and Gaston dies never seeing the error of his ways. 

Belle: This song accomplishes a lot, serving both as a “Welcome to the Word” song and an “I Want” song. Its most important function is to make us love Belle. It sets her up as an outsider who loves books and dreams of something bigger than this small town life. It also sets up the town she is living in, both how she feels about the people in the town, and how they feel about her. Finally, it introduces us to Gaston, even giving two whole verses to his set up. We learn all the girls fawn over him but his want is to marry Belle. While it’s divided by a couple short cut scenes, it’s one of the longest musical sequences of all the animated musicals. It’s also a song that defines a musical style that will be imitated throughout musical theater for decades to come.

So much happens between “Belle” and the reprise. Her father Maurice heads off to the fair, only to get lost, and captured by the Beast. Meanwhile Gaston stages his proposal to Belle, and is flat out rejected. This proposal is what sets her off singing the reprise.

Belle (Reprise): Belle makes it clear she doesn’t want to be with Gaston. She wants “adventure in the great wide somewhere” and longs for someone to understand her, doubling down on this idea in a sweeping meadow, reminiscent of Sound of Music.

Shortly after the reprise ends, Philippe (the horse) returns, sending Belle off to find her missing father. The break into act 2 happens when Belle agrees to trade her life for her fathers, thus making her Beast’s prisoner.

Gaston: For the purpose of getting Gaston out of the dumps after being humiliated by Belle, LeFou sings this rousing song—a masculation restoration, if you will. As the song progresses, the more Gaston participates, eventually taking control of the song in the bridge. Finally, with confidence restored, the whole bar celebrates with him. 

Gaston (Reprise): After Maurice comes to the bar looking for help, only to get laughed at, a plan starts to percolate in Gaston’s tiny little brain. We call this a “Work It Out” song because its story purpose is for Gaston to work out an idea. When he does, it becomes a rousing celebration of himself again. 

Be Our Guest: In this “Persuasion” song, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts make Belle feel comfortable and at home with the greatest song about dinner ever made. The visuals are reminiscent of a Busby Berkeley musical number, with synchronized swimming and dancing (and dinner plates). The visuals of Cogsworth trying to make everyone be quiet throughout add a lot of comedic contrast to the lyrics, until Cogsworth is ultimately consumed by the song. “Be Our Guest” is similar to “Under The Sea” in its scope and function, but this persuasion gets the desired result that Sebastian failed to get. However, it may have worked too well as Belle is emboldened to explore the forbidden parts of the castle. (It also has an incredible 4 key changes in only 3:22).

Something There: This is also a “Work it Out” song, as both characters work through and realize their feelings about one another. What’s fascinating about this song is that it’s mostly internally sung, which is an oxymoron as far as we’re concerned. This breaks a rule we follow, that all singing is seen. The rules of musical land can be stretched to allow people to sing and not be heard, and there are moments where they are even separated and continue to sing internally. It makes us wonder if maybe this sequence was already animated and they tacked the song on afterwards. It is known that this was a last minute addition to replace “Human Again.” This is a simple AABA song, with one verse to each character. Something very cool in this song is that the bridge is the same bridge as “Belle,” but with new lyrics. The final verse is given to Lumiere, Potts and Cogsworth, who are witnessing the love from the outside, giving us confirmation that there is something there that wasn’t there before.

Beauty and the Beast: Just a pure celebration of love. This isn’t a song that furthers the story, but it’s a song that is earned and takes a pause in the storytelling to simply enjoy a moment of peace and love, right before everything is about to fall apart. 

The Mob Song: The seemingly kind and harmless townspeople from the opening song fall for Gaston’s lies and fear baiting, and transform into a gruesome mob armed with pitchforks and torches aimed at killing the beast. It’s more a war anthem than anything. In the first verse, the townspeople work themselves into a fury (with Gaston’s assistance) and then, crazed by fear and hysteria, they set off to kill the beast. Even the living furniture at the Castle takes a verse as they prepare for the incoming invaders. It’s hard not to connect this song to the AIDS epidemic happening at the time of this movies production, and the mobs of angry people condemning homosexuality based on fear and lies.

The break into Act 3 is the battle, ironically (and fittingly) scored to the tune of “Be Our Guest.”

Beauty and The Beast (Reprise): As is traditional in these movies, it ends with a reprise to celebrate love overcoming adversity and to send us out of the theater humming along.
Stick with us as we dissect Aladdin in the next issue of Rooster Revue!

Shout out to Brett Ryback and Jeff Luppino-Esposito for fact-checkery and musical theory knowledge.
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"Rooster Review" is edited by Matt Andrews, Mary Bonney, and Jeffrey Simon with contributions from the entire team at The Barn.

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