Performer Spotlight: Vivi Blackheart @ The Bootstrappers

“She’ll do as she will and she’ll say as she please…”

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Vivi on the violin!

I’m always excited to see Vivi Blackheart bringing her extra measure of girl power to The Bootstrappers at Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. There is pure confidence in every performance she gives and she’s a strong personality and musical match for every man in this crew.

She easily holds her own against the guys – and she’s probably more intimidating than any of them – you wouldn’t want to mess with Vivi! She often seems to be musically “dueling” with the fellows and as far as I’m concerned, she wins!

She is so fierce that plenty of the time they just get out of her way and let her play! And I always look forward to her solos.

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Playing behind her back! Really, she’s still playing a song!

This girl is simply a fiend on the fiddle the way her fingers fly over the strings. I’ve seen her perform while doing all sorts of tricks from jumping to playing without a moment’s hesitation with the violin behind her back!

She’s easily one of the most accomplished musicians in the group. Continue reading

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Performer Spotlight: Mean Jean @ The Bootstrappers

“But I danced until the dawn…”

The choreographical stylings of Mean Jean!

The choreographical stylings of Mean Jean!

Ahoy there, mateys! This week thar’ be some celebratin’ of the piratical kind to be found. So grab yer grog as we set sail for uncharted seas…

Yeah, okay, that’s enough of that! But earlier this week it actually was “Talk Like a Pirate Day” and while I’m sorry I couldn’t celebrate the day with The Bootstrappers at Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, it does seem the perfect week to spotlight some more rascally members of this musical troupe!

And realizing that I’ve only focused on some of the men in this motley crew thus far, this weekend it will be some of the wenches’… err… ladies’ turns!

Today I’d like to celebrate that rambunctious redhead, Mean Jean!

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And while her fiery wild hair and even wilder dancing may frighten off the faint of heart, I personally have a great fondness for seeing her out performing with the rest of the gang! Continue reading

Downtown Disney Mousertainment – Hiatus

“I wanna rock with you…”

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Some of the regular readers may recall my enthusiastic review of the Halloween Hiatus show at the Downtown Disney House of Blues last year.

Well, I’m super excited to note that this year’s Halloween show by Hiatus will be happening on October 19th at The Grove in Anaheim!

And not only that, as a warm up, the Hiatus band has been performing as part of “Rockin’ Wednesdays” this month in Downtown Disney on the stage by the ESPN Zone! I was lucky enough to catch their show last Wednesday and hope to attend next Wednesday’s show as well.

In the alternate two Wednesday nights in September, another terrific local group, Grilled Cheese Soundwich, has been performing – I’m hoping to catch their next show as well!

But last week and next it’s all about Hiatus!

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They are an absolutely fantastic band with a massive lineup of performers. You never know which singers or musicians you may see at one of their gigs, but no matter who it is, they’re all so crazy talented and enjoyable it’s worth checking out! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: The Silver Lake Sisters

“You’re positively, absolutely in the mood!”

The Silver Lake Sisters!

The Silver Lake Sisters!

What are The Silver Lake Sisters?

The Silver Lake Sisters are the 1930’s-era “owners” of a little place at the end of Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure where a lot of people stop to grab a cup o’ joe! The walls there are decorated with mementos from their glamorous musical performing past.

They have recently reunited their vaudeville act to help bid farewell to the Hollywood Tower Hotel (or as you may know it better – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror), which will be closing in January 2017 to be re-themed to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Presenting a comedic set of half a dozen period songs, they are currently entertaining the crowds waiting to enter the spooky hotel elevators for a wild ride!

Who are the performers?

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Dolly, Dottie and Ethel aka Fiddler, Fifer and Practical, the lovely owners of the eponymous café on Buena Vista Street, are also known as the performing act of The Silver Lake Sisters!

The three girls feature in this show while singing live against an instrumental musical track.

When and where can I find them? Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Hans @ Frozen – Live at the Hyperion

“Life can be so much more – with you!”

Hans and Anna vent about their siblings.

Hans and Anna vent about their siblings.

Yesterday, I spoke about a performer who was so perfect in her role, it was like she’d stepped right out of a movie. Yet her empathetic ability to impart such emotion into the character created depth from what could easily have been just a physical and vocal re-creation.

Today’s spotlight turns to another member of the cast who also impressed mightily – by his digression from what was onscreen!

One of the things I miss most since Frozen – Live at the Hyperion replaced Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular at Disney California Adventure is the spontaneity and freshness that the previous show provided every time I saw it. It was Genie’s character that brought something different and exciting to every performance.

Unfortunately, the new Frozen show is an automaton by comparison – turning out unchanging interpretations by most performers just focused for now on hitting their marks and lines each time. But happily, not all!

I was very pleasantly surprised when I recently attended two back-to-back showings of Frozen – Live at the Hyperion and was heartily entertained by Hans’ performance in both!

First of all – he played off of and responded to the audience, which was a delight to watch happen! The staging in this show is such that several characters work their way through the theater at various times, but this guy was the only one to actually acknowledge the audience at different points while still staying totally in character. In fact, this use of the crowd fed the substance of his character incredibly well!

There were two moments I particularly noticed and enjoyed in both shows – one was his cocky flirtatious winks and points at folks sitting near the stage. This totally worked for his take on the character (more about which momentarily). And another was the moment when Hans was holding cloaks for the citizens of Arendelle – as he asked which citizens needed them, several hands shot up in the audience and he immediately aimed his next lines in their direction. A perfect organic response that made everyone in the theater feel more a part of the story!

But the other aspect of his performance was in fact the exact opposite reason I’d enjoyed Elsa’s so much – because he reinvented the character and played him in a distinct and fun manner from the film!

CHARACTER SPOILERS AHEAD! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Elsa @ Frozen – Live at the Hyperion

“Some people are worth melting for…”

Perfect Elsa.

Perfect Elsa.

What a difference a cast makes…

For those who read my spotlight on the Frozen – Live at the Hyperion show in Disney California Adventure, you’ll recall I wasn’t particularly thrilled with it. Okay, that’s an understatement. I thought the show was close to unwatchable – between length (it still needs at least 20 minutes cut out), production choices and casting decisions, I was extremely disappointed in the results.

But as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and this week I’m going to address two performances that were absolutely right in very different ways when I recently went back to see the show for a second (and third!) time. And in the case of today’s performer, it was absolutely perfect.

Frankly, if the rest of this show was cast as well and aptly as this girl is, it would be a rousing success no matter what the rest of the issues were. However, that hasn’t happened.

Still, today, the focus is on what makes a performer and a role mesh so exquisitely it was like they were made for each other.

In the case of Elsa – first, the look.

Between her huge expressive eyes and a figure that fits the snow queen’s dress like it was drawn on her, this simply is Elsa. Stepped right off the screen.

Her physicality is completely on point – from her elegant hands creating the “magic” to her ability to work the costume from head to toe, especially the cape!

Second, the voice. Continue reading

My Labor of Love For This Labor Day Weekend – The Mousertainment YouTube Channel

I’ve had the desire for a while to find a place to showcase some of the many videos I’ve taken at the Disney Parks (and elsewhere) over the past few years. So I finally took it upon myself to start the task!

It’s still a work in progress – and will continue to be as long as I film more performances to share. But I’ve loaded about 200 videos so far from the past five years and hope you find some to enjoy!

Here you’ll find clips of many of the performers I’ve spotlighted on my blog.

They include everyone from The Dapper Dans of Disneyland and The Bootstrappers to the 80z All-Stars and TOMASINA, as well as local favorite bands like LIGHTS and performances from Disney Parks shows like Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular and Mickey and the Magical Map!  And of course, there are LOTS of videos from The Mad T Party and Diamond Mad T Party!

And while I’ll acknowledge using the unpopular vertical perspective in many cases, there is a practical reason for it – I’m sharing whenever possible an up close view of what’s happening and I found early on that if I take video horizontally, I wind up cutting off most of the performers’ bodies from the video. And since most of the singers who I admire can also dance, you’re missing half the performance without a full view!

I am working on retraining myself to take more horizontal video to post for larger groups or shows, but I hope you’ll enjoy the different vantage points experienced over the past few years. Continue reading