Feature: How to Really Celebrate 75 Years of Fantasia


When I started doing the Whole Picture series, I was excited for a few films I knew were extraordinary as far as how they changed Walt Disney and the Disney company as a whole. Fantasia was one of those films. It was an outside-of-the-box idea and when I covered it (read it here) I was amazed to learn, for myself, how much impact Fantasia had on the film industry as well as the music industry. With that in mind, I was somewhat let down by Disney’s celebration of Fantasia. This past weekend, Disney brought Fantasia back to movie theaters for one day only. It was made special by having the Philadelphia Orchestra record it’s accompaniment with the film. As neat as that is, Walt’s vision for Fantasia was for it to be a touring surround sound visual masterpiece.

So you might think, what’s wrong with Fantasia playing in movie theaters for one day? I’ll be honest, Fantasia isn’t the film that gets me moving and shaking with excitement. It’s also 75 years old and I doubt a younger audience is planning to sit through it’s 2 hour and 6 minute runtime without a narrative. Truthfully anyone under 50 might have had a difficult time watching it even with a different orchestration. I have ideas though, and something I think people, no matter the age, would want to see: a live theater production.

fantasia 1

Putting together some sort of live theatrical production wouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds. The orchestration is already set and having a touring show of Fantasia with a touring orchestra would be easy considering Disney does it every single day with several theatrical productions around the world. The key here would be the visuals. I would definitely say use screen technology and project some pieces from the film, but also add in new images and clips. Bring in a lighting system to make the whole theater feel like some immersive experience. Make it snow, drop bubbles on the audiences, bring in a laser light show. Bring some actors on stage as dancing alligators, ghosts, or even druids. There is no need for lines, so make it more like a ballet with crazy visual effects.

fantasia 2

Shows like Mannheim Steamroller of the Pink Floyd Experience do well, not because of the music, but because of the theatrics that take over theaters. Bring that to a touring show. Make it a limited engagement. Run this touring show in select cities for 2 years then end it. I think this show appeals to everyone. Fans of the film will love it because we are showcasing the music and the film in a unique way, something that Walt Disney may have loved himself if the technology was there for it. Music and theater fans will love it as it’s a unique theater experience that you don’t get, even from hit shows like Wicked, The Lion King, or Book of Mormon. General audiences will love it as well if marketed correctly. What a fun way to celebrate 75 years of Fantasia don’t you think?

Leave your thoughts and comments as I’d like to know how you’d want to celebrate 75 years of Fantasia!

Josh Taylor
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Posted on November 10, 2015, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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