Last time on Disney’s Musical Theatre, I discussed the first animated film from the studio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Now, I want to continue to talk about Snow White, this time focusing on the stage adaptation, deleted songs from the film, and the live-action remake that is currently in production.
There were two songs that were written for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that were ultimately not included in the film, “Music in Your Soup” and “You’re Never Too Old to Be Young.” “Music in Your Soup” was a song that the dwarves sing, or rather slurp after Snow White makes them supper. The dwarves slurp loudly in time with the music, which makes for a fun song that showcases the personalities and lack of manners of the dwarfs, much to the dismay of Snow White. This song was completely animated, though not inked and painted, and can be viewed as a special feature on several home video releases of the film. It also was later included as part of Snow White Live. The second deleted song, “You’re Never Too Old to Be Young”, was replaced by “The Silly Song” in the finished film. The songs are quite similar in sound and in theme, both featuring yodeling and function as a means to entertain rather than to move the story along. This song was later sung by Dick Van Dyke in the television special Disney’s Golden Anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1986.
Snow White is notable as the first Disney property to make its way to the stage. Years before the Disney Theatrical Group was created, Snow White was adapted for the stage in the late 1960’s. Though people could see live cartoon characters walking around at Disneyland, this was the first time that the general public could see a live musical version of a Disney classic. Using all of the songs from the film, as well as newly written ones for the stage, this marked a major business venture that would be taken even farther in the years to come. This was a way to make the cartoon world a real, living place. This production is often forgotten about by both Disney and musical fans because it was never on Broadway and the later production of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway is better known. Snow White Live premiered in New York in 1978 at the Radio City Music Hall, in order to save this venue that was about to be torn down. This production was a huge success and is instrumental not only in the history of Snow White but also when looking at the history of Disney musicals on stage.
There are a few story changes from the original film in the adaptation, most of them relating to the Queen and her henchmen. In the stage version, the Queen is from a faraway land called Shi-tan. The opening song in the musical is called “Welcome to the Kingdom” and introduces baby Snow White to the kingdom, and to the audience. There is one other new song, titled “Will I Ever See Her Again?” and is sung by the Prince. As the title implies, the Prince sings about his beloved Snow White and wonders if he will see her again. This original production was filmed and released on VHS in a shortened version which cuts out “Music in Your Soup” and “Will I Ever See Her Again?” It has out of print for years however, a transfer of the original VHS can be found on YouTube.
Recently, it was announced that there will be a live-action remake of Snow White from Disney, featuring new songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. These prolific songwriters have not only written some of Broadway’s best musicals in recent years such as Dear Evan Hansen but also have written songs for such blockbuster films as La La Land and The Greatest Showman. They were also involved with Disney in 2019’s Aladdin, writing the lyrics of Alan Menken’s new song “Speechless”, featured in the film. There is some great potential in the music that could be written in the upcoming remake. Personally, I would love to see more story-driven musical numbers, specifically a song from the Queen. Though she has always been a terrifying and interesting villain, her character has always been somewhat one dimensional, as she has never been given a great backstory by Disney. This is a perfect opportunity to flesh out this famous character by giving her more to do. The transformation scene, in particular, would be a great place for a new showstopping number.
Next time on Disney’s Musical Theatre, I will be discussing the music and soundtrack from Pinocchio.