Written by: Patrick Connolly

ROZ: Alright. Well…I guess we’ll move onto the final question of the evening. Vice President Mickey: what is your response to the racism that’s going on in our country today?

(Just as he’s about to talk, a flea named JOHN RATZENBERGER finally finds a place to rest: on the top of VP MICKEY’s head)

JOHN: Eh, well this is a good place to rest after a long day at the circus. Oh wow, quite a lot of people here. Why do their faces look weird?

VP MICKEY: Well, I think it’s a simple thing really. I think that racism doesn’t exist.

JOHN: Welp, I better get a good night’s sleep before the—wait, what?

VP MICKEY: Yeah, this whole thing about how “implicit bias” exists and whatnot. Why do people have to talk like this?

JOHN: Uh….because it does exist?   

VP MICKEY: Come on. We all know that racism doesn’t exist. It’s just a system created by the imaginations of those who want to vilify, not debate peacefully. How can we move forward as a nation when we keep moving backward with these outdated ideals? Empathy? Hope? Understanding? There’s no time for that anymore. We need to take these indigenous individuals and push them somewhere else…. (He continues to talk like the racist he is)  

JOHN: Uh….yeah. I’ll be right back.

(JOHN immediately flies over to HENRY J. HORNET and LOUISA VAN LOCUST)

JOHN: Guys. Emergency!


LOCUST: What is it?

JOHN: We might be electing a racist as Vice President for another four years. We’ve got to do something.

HORNET: Excuse me?

LOCUST: A racist?

HORNET: No. This will not do.

LOCUST: Shall I?

HORNET: Yes. You shall.

(LOCUST makes a loud “dun-dede-DUNNN!” sound to call all the flies, hornets and locusts to action. All of them fly over to where the Presidential Debate is, and they start to attack VP Mickey, almost to the point of burning the place down, with the ending of Alan Menken’s “Sanctuary” playing in the background. The fires continue to burn. It’s pretty satisfying)

ROZ: Well….I guess that’s the debate. Harriet, you win the election by default. Congratulations. A bunch of bugs saved us from another four years of this mess. Debate dismissed.

(The place continues to burn. Just then, Harriet sits at the table with his coffee mug)

HARRIET: This is fine.


Created and Produced by
Emeryville, California

Your Story Is Original: Celebrating The Underappreciated (And What That Has To Do With Theatre)


Forgive me. This is something I just needed to get off my chest today. If you don’t want to read this, I completely understand. But reading this will hopefully give you a greater understanding of the world around you.

Story #1: So on the Music Theatre International website, they have these amazing things called “free reads”–musicals, such as Company, If/Then, and The Little Mermaid that are available to read for no charge. Another musical that’s on there is James and the Giant Peach, a musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl Children’s novel of the same name. And it’s genuinely amazing. I’m not kidding. Some of the songs, written by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land), are so beautiful and touching in its simplicity that I almost cried. And it was just a read-through. Of a musical I didn’t really know about until yesterday. It’s amazing how I didn’t really know about this musical until yesterday.

Story #2: I’m waiting in the TKTS booth line in New York City. Shows such as The Phantom of the OperaThe Prom, and Waitress are on the list. While waiting in line, I was talking with someone who works at TKTS about how he was blown away by King Kong. This surprised me considering I was hearing awful reviews about the show, but he kept talking about how incredible not only the puppetry was, but the experience was as a whole. Ultimately, I decided to buy tickets for King Kong since it aligned well with my budget at the time. He was right. Had I not listened to his advice, I wouldn’t have opened my heart and mind to the spectacle, the performances, and the final song involving wonder (which also felt appropriate since I was there during BroadwayCon at the time). All of it just put me under a magical spell, and it wasn’t broken until I fell asleep that night.

Story #3: I’ve been taking these sessions this past month called Bridge To Broadway. Somebody was posting on Facebook about how Alan Menken was one of the special guests, and that you would need a ZOOM account to participate. I was (and continue to be) blown away by these sessions, but not exactly for the reasons you’d expect. While it was an absolutely gratifying experience to ask questions to/hear from artists such as Alan Menken, Andre De Shields, and Laura Osnes (artists that I’ve looked up to as inspirations throughout my whole life), it was more rewarding to talk with artists that aren’t as well known in the industry as others, such as Michael McElroy, Nik Walker, and especially Larry Moss (at the very least, I hadn’t heard of him until these sessions started up).

I share these three stories with you to celebrate and emphasize what is underappreciated in life, especially when it comes to Theatre. I know several artists, for instance, who have blown me away not only by performing excellently in their community theatre productions, but by also being incredible people in general. Unfortunately, they will most likely never get noticed as much as the most popular names in the industry. The real world doesn’t always reward extraordinarily talented people who are also filled with genuinely good intentions, and that’s a fact that needs to change immediately.

I also need to emphasize another fact that doesn’t get talked about often: no matter how much you think it might come across as too cliched or predictable, your story might be more original than you’re giving yourself credit for. Sure, there could be similarities and coincidences in the story you’re telling, but a.) it allows for more of a greater connection towards other people, and b.) nobody knows exactly where you came from, nor what you’ve personally experienced. Your story is your own. You get the chance to tell it. Now own it.

As we continue to move through the new-born decade with an equal mix of determination and trepidation, now is the time to share our experiences. To realize who we are. To understand that there truly is more out there. More connections. More movies. More music. More theater.

And more stories. In places that we thought we knew.

Hope everyone is well.


A Reset Of Mindset.


You remember that scene in The Prince of Egypt where God sends every plague imaginable until Ramesses sets all of the Hebrews free from slavery?

I’m not saying that what we’re going through is exactly like that (although there have been a swarm of locusts attacking those who live in East Africa*), but that isn’t to say God isn’t sending some variation of that message.

I know it’s a daunting challenge to find something positive out of the situation that we’re all going through right now. In my entire lifetime, I’ve never experienced anything that managed to close the doors of Broadway theaters, Multiplexes, and yes, even theme parks such as Walt Disney World for potentially over a month.

Most importantly, I’ve never even thought of the possibility of losing those whom I’ve loved for years to something that’s out of everyone’s control. It’s a scary thought that makes me think this could truly be the end of the world.

And yet, if we’re sensible, it won’t be the end of the world.

In many ways, I actually consider it a reset.

A Reset Of Mindset. 

A lot of people are saying that this situation will destroy the economy. I actually disagree with that. If anything, I think it could make smart businessmen–and businesswomen–look at the situation in a different light.

Do you know how many Broadway theatres could sell out every night if you sold every full-price ticket (with a few discounted exceptions) between the amount of $60-$100 rather than charging a Premium section for the cost of, oh, I don’t know, $400?

Do you know how many people would actually WANT to go to Walt Disney World if regular full-price tickets ended up simply being $50 rather than $100 per park?

Do you know how many people would actually want to go to the movies if a full-priced adult ticket was the same amount of a ticket on Bargain Tuesdays (Seriously, the Cinemark Buckland Hills 18 & IMAX is only between $6-$7)?

All of these factors would certainly cause a ton of people you’d have to control, and they would most likely defeat the purpose of “Social Distancing”, but by then, the virus would be a thing of the past, and people would start to be more understanding of one another.

Ironically, staying at home and creating distance can cause one to reflect on what has happened in the past, and increase their sense of empathy towards others.

I know everyone wants to feel superior over a situation, but sometimes, we have to check our own behavior every once in a while, and realize that we’re all human.

Falling in love is human. Making mistakes is human.

Writing in Harambe to be President on an election ballot is….well, I think it’s really stupid, but what human hasn’t done something stupid once in their life?

The path our world is about to go in is an unpredictable one, but then again, life has always been unpredictable. Our parents were just afraid to admit that fact when we were children.

Life has mostly been Act Two of Into The Woods. We’ve just wanted to always live in Act One forever.

As a kid, I was always more fond of Act One than Act Two, as I’m sure a lot of children (and yes, even grown adults) were back then.

But growing up, I’ve now come to realize that Act Two of Into The Woods is what Act One was always leading up to. Without Act Two, it’s just Into The Woods, Jr, and while Into The Woods, Jr. is a fun story about finding certain objects to get what you want, you realize that you don’t necessarily learn anything about yourself. It’s within Act Two that the questions come into play.

What happens when you do lose a place like Walt Disney World?

What happens when you lose the one person that was supposed to be in your life forever?

What happens when you end up alone in the woods and anxiously search for a path that you could walk on?

You could create a path for yourself made out of leaves.

And on that path, you could ultimately meet people who help you ease the grief you’re feeling.

And while Walt Disney World won’t be on this path, you could create memories that resemble the special kind of magic a place like that has provided for almost fifty years now.

Now is the time for introspection. To take off the armor, and recognize the raw emotions you are feeling. As well as the raw emotions that you’ve always wanted to feel.

Please stay safe during this time.

*Especially from the locusts:









Tim Federle: if you’re reading this, hire me?

So recently, I’ve found out that instead of going the obvious route of putting on High School Musical 2, they’re actually going to be putting on Beauty and the Beast for Season Two of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series! After finding out the news, I excitedly thought about what direction they will take the series based on what had happened in Season One. Sure enough, it’s pretty obvious that they will focus on the existing characters going from where they left off at the end of the previous season. I’ve also found out that they will be adding a new character named Howie as a tribute to Howard Ashman, and I think that’s a wonderful touch.

But then I also thought about “hey, what if there was another character? And not only would I be responsible for writing the concept for this character, but also managed to play the role as well?!”

I know it’s most likely not going to happen since they’re already thinking about how to approach Season Two, but just as a fun experiment, I’ve decided to get inspired!

So here’s my character concept for Season Two of High School Musical; The Musical: The Series: The Second Season That Will Most Likely Have A Longer Title Than Even The One I Just Created For–

Ahem. Sorry. Got a little carried away there.

So his name is Joey.

Joey,  a recent college graduate with a degree in Theatre Performance, is looking for direction in his life. But when he gets a message on Facebook from Miss Jenn–they were both unnoticed extras in the original High School Musical (because comedic coincidences!)– that she needs help with her production of Beauty and the Beast since he has the expertise on the film and musical (and, ya know, he’s a huge Disney nut), he decides to take the leap of faith. Later on in the season, when we find out that a student playing Maurice (don’t know who yet!) dropped out, Miss Jenn asks if Joey could fill in A WEEK BEFORE THE PRODUCTION OPENS. With the help of his fellow actors from East High, he ultimately succeeds in the mission, and finally feels like he’s on the right track with his life.

He wouldn’t necessarily be a major character in the series, considering the focus should be on the main characters, particularly Ricky, Nini, Big Red, and Ashlyn. But he would be the guiding light for the characters considering he does have real world experience.  He would help them with where their futures are heading towards, and in return, they help him with succeeding as playing Maurice.

A part of the obvious inspiration of the character comes from my experience helping out my former high school’s production of Beauty and the Beast nearly two years ago. Not only was I assigned to be an assistant director, but I also had to fill in for Maurice a week before the production was to open. It was one of the most nerve-wracking and exhilarating experiences of my life, and I miss everyone involved with the production every day.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series brought me back to memories like those, as well as my own collection of high school memories (both positive and negative). Joey would be a valuable addition to the story because he would represent a.) the ability to still carry a sense of childlike wonder even when you’re older, and b.) the bridge for adults and students to work together even when they don’t always see the same.

So yeah, that’s my character concept. I also needed to write something fun and light to offset the heavy atmosphere this year is bringing so far.

*finds out they’ve already started the Table Reading for Season Two*

*Sigh* Well, there’s always next season.

I Shouldn’t Need To…

I shouldn’t need to write this.

I shouldn’t need for you to read this, either.

I shouldn’t need to be afraid of the future.

I shouldn’t need to raise my voice for the basic human rights of everyone, including my own.

I shouldn’t need to educate others about my learning disability.

I shouldn’t even need to write that it’s a disability. It’s an ability that’s different from others. That’s all it is.

I shouldn’t need to attempt to create something that, as of right now, isn’t available for aspiring performing artists within the state of Connecticut, who yearn to make a financial living off of their craft.

I shouldn’t need to waste $16 for each Lyft ride to–and from–a job fair in East Hartford only to eventually find out that it was cancelled.

I shouldn’t need to go to a Job Fair.

I shouldn’t need to be stuck in a position like this.

I shouldn’t need to ask for help, even if the help could be greatly appreciated.

I shouldn’t need to clarify that I’m not looking for things to be given to me on a silver platter–that I’m able to put in the work required if the opportunity is available.

Even so, I shouldn’t need to be afraid.

I shouldn’t need to be afraid of being called lazy for not accomplishing “nothing”.

I shouldn’t need to be afraid of an industry hiring actors, singers, dancers, and yes, even directors who are not held accountable for their actions.

I shouldn’t need to be frustrated of an industry that doesn’t hire actors, singers, dancers, and yes, even directors who are actually WILLING to learn from their mistakes.

I shouldn’t need to defend myself.

I shouldn’t need to develop a thick skin.

I shouldn’t need to present evidence for my grievances.

And I shouldn’t need to feel afraid of other people thinking–despite presenting evidence–that I’m “playing the victim.”

I shouldn’t need to be feeling this way.

I shouldn’t need for you to read this.

I shouldn’t need to write this at all.

But I need to.

I have to.

Otherwise, I explode into a million little pieces.

And I have to clean myself up.

I shouldn’t have to do that.

I shouldn’t have to.

You’re A Creep

You’re a creep
I don’t understand you
Who are you supposed to be?

You just come into my life
For five-to-ten seconds
And I already know who you are

I know your life story
Your past
Your present
And even your entire future

Who cares if your father died?
Who cares if you lost friendships?
Who cares if you carry a burden
That you wish you can fully erase?

I don’t care about your dreams.
I don’t care that you have hopes.
I don’t care what you want to become
Or who you want to spend
The rest of your life with.

All I care about is right now.
And right now
I think you’re a creep.

You ask me a question out of the blue
And you expect me to react with kindness?
I  very well know people like you
As well as your intentions.

No misunderstanding.
This is how I feel.
And how I feel is what I think of you
And what you will be
For the rest of your life:

A creep. And nothing more.

I’m not finished:

I know how you feel right now.
You may think that you want to write
A post on social media
As well as maybe
Oh, I don’t know
A poem about your experience with me

Well, I’m here to tell you:
Go ahead.
No one
Your friends
Not even your cat
Will never–ever–believe you

They will say that you’re getting attention
They will argue that you’re playing the victim
They will say that
You’re a man
You shouldn’t be feeling these things.

And maybe you shouldn’t have
Been “creepy” in the first place.

And this five-to-ten second experience
That will ultimately render useless
Will consume
Your every waking thought
Until the day you die

Just like the thoughts of the past
That continue to plague your mind

I hope you’re happy
That you’ll never be heard

Now write away, you creep!

Oh…I intend to.

1917: Prepare To Believe In Movies Again


With nearly every film released in IMAX, there’s always a countdown to get everyone excited for what they’re about to experience. Before the countdown, we see words flashing before our very eyes one word at a time:




And even then, I was still unprepared.

I’ve been a moviegoer for almost my entire lifetime. I thought I had seen everything that needed to be seen on a big screen. Surely, the movies can’t offer as many surprises as the latest streaming services available to you for just $6.99/month.

That was before I experienced 1917 for the very first time.

You know why 1917 and 2001 have the same amount of numbers in their titles? Because they’re both the greatest films in cinematic history, that’s why. Both films push the medium forward in crazy, imaginative, and unexpected ways that some forms of art could never hope to accomplish. Nor should they even try. When breaking ground and entering new territory, the moving image can remind you of its captivating power.

I felt like I’d experienced something brand new with 1917. Or maybe it’s just a combination of similar feelings I had felt with other movies in the past that ultimately became something I had never experienced before. I don’t even want to think about that right now. What Sam Mendes, Roger Deakins, Thomas Newman, and the rest of the film’s incredibly gifted storytellers have accomplished here is unlike anything I’ve seen before in my lifetime of going to the movies.

I’m not going to give away where the first “cut” of the film happens, but contrary to what other people have been saying regarding Mendes’ vision of the film simulating one long shot, there are technically two “cuts” in the film. That’s not a criticism. If anything, it feels more like a play in two acts through a cinematic lens, and considering Mendes’ theatrical background, that comes as no surprise (sadly, there’s no intermission; I mean, for God’s sake, that would have been necessary considering how tense I was throughout the first half).

Again, not a criticism, because how it’s done here is nothing short of extraordinary. When I heard that the film was simulated to feel like two long takes, I was skeptical just by watching the trailers, for they were edited to feel like a typical (yet interesting) war film. That was a genius move on the marketing department, because it made the film all the more surprising when finding out that, yes, this film was simulated to feel like two long takes. Even when researching that the film was created like that online, I was still unprepared for how mindblowing the experience was going to be.

I know Roger Deakins has an Oscar already for his work on Blade Runner 2049. After 1917, he needs about….sixty more? This is the third film where I’ve seen Roger Deakins’ awe-inspiring cinematography on an IMAX-sized screen (the first two being Skyfall and Blade Runner 2049), and honestly, we need to have a contract where his contributions are required to be in IMAX theatres with 26% more image than you would normally experience on a regular-sized screen. The level of detail just in the mud alone when the two soldiers are trudging through No Man’s Land was both amazing and terrifying all at once. And don’t get me started with this shot:


Imagine that plastered on an IMAX screen. You want to see the movie right now, don’t you?

And then you have Thomas Newman’s subtly brilliant score giving the film the atmosphere it requires. I’ve been an enormous fan of his work ever since I was first introduced to his compositions for Finding Nemo. The range of his work on 1917 astounded me, from the epic bombast found in the film’s most intense moments, to the subtle quietness felt in the film’s most reflective moments. My favorite piece of his work here is “The Night Window”, which combines the very best of what Newman has always offered in the past. It’s one of his greatest film scores to date, and should be considered for an Oscar.

Even with all of the technical aspects reaching a level of cinematic mastery, they all somehow still serve the story’s journey. Both George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman’s performances in this film represent the highest caliber of acting that I can think of, even if it wasn’t a film created in this nature. Despite being relatively unknown when compared to the likes of Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become big names after this film sends them to the big leagues. The emotional turmoil they have to express, the demanding physicality they have to endure–even as an aspiring actor, I probably wouldn’t have the bravery to venture on a project like this. Maybe when I’m braver and older.

Within the start of a new decade, there have been talks and rumors of yet another World War in our midst, and I couldn’t help but think about that while experiencing 1917. I don’t know what the future holds for our world, and I’m not going to even pretend to be an expert considering I haven’t ventured outside the right side of the United States my whole life, but if the timely message of this film is anything to come by, I truly believe the world would be a better place by making this film required viewing. This is yet another reminder that a world war would not only be pointless, but it would cause unnecessary emotional damage to families and friends that don’t deserve to feel this way.

Cast aside any awards hype, as well as the unnecessary, inevitable backlash that will ultimately follow, and experience the film the way it was meant to be intended. It will make you believe in the power of cinema again.


ROSE TICO: Prologue Pitch for Disney+ Series


Setting: Canto Bight. A couple of years after the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Temiri Blagg proceeds with his daily routine of sweeping up the floors. He still wears the ring of the Resistance on his finger. Bargwill Tomder continues to mentally abuse him.

Bargwill Tomder (in subtitles): Keep working. Stop wasting time. You’re not going anywhere.

(laughs in subtitles) 

Temiri continues to sweep up the floor in frustration. Arashell Sar and Oniho Zaya comes around the corner to console him.

Arashell Sar: Don’t let him get to you. Nobody deserves to be treated that way.

Temiri continues to sweep. Not saying a word.

Oniho Zaya: Are you doing okay?

Temiri still continues to sweep. Not saying a word.

Arashell Sar: We should leave him be.

Both Arashell and Oniho leave him be while Temiri continues to sweep. That is, until he decides to stop for a bit to look at the stars, wondering if there’s something or someone out there for him. He almost starts to cry silently until he notices a blinking “star”. As he continues to look at the “star”, he realizes that it’s coming closer towards him. He finds out that it’s not a “star” at all, but a spaceship that’s about to land. Oniho and Arashell rush outside to hear what the noise is about.

The spaceship opens its doors to reveal Rose Tico.

Both Rose and the orphans share a look of happiness and relief. Rose gestures the kids to quickly get on the ship. But Bargwill finds out about the noise, too. Without hesitation, the kids get on the ship to escape from Bargwill. The spaceship begins to escape, but Bargwill calls for other ships to start attacking Rose’s ship through the skies.

Bargwill (in subtitles): Attention, officers of Canto Bight. The orphans have escaped. Attack at all costs!

Rose and the Orphans fly through Canto Bight to get away from the officers trying to attack their ship. They fly around building after building until Rose cleverly catches the officers off-guard, and all of them are able to escape from Canto Bight. Bargwill sees Rose’s ship taking off to the stars, and lets out a beastly growl.

Cut to later on in the stars. It’s quiet and peaceful. The kids are asleep in their seats. Rose continues to slowly drive the ship. She looks at the stars as she’s flying through them. She holds the other half of the medallion close to her heart, knowing she’s making Paige Tico proud.


*cuts to title card* 

Kelly Marie Tran is officially redeemed. 




What a way to close out the Disney Renaissance. 

I couldn’t have imagined that Tarzan would have been the film to challenge Beauty and the Beast as my pick for the best film in the Disney Renaissance. When I decided to take on this project of talking about every film in the Disney Renaissance, I’d assume that something like The Lion King or The Hunchback of Notre Dame would surprisingly come out on top. That isn’t to say I didn’t love Tarzan growing up (out of all the Renaissance films released, Tarzan was the one I watched constantly on VHS), but I figured that it wouldn’t have held up as well, and that the rose-colored glasses would come off when re-visiting something that I held very close to my heart.

Within the film’s opening sequence, thanks to its groundbreaking use of a new animation technique called Deep Canvas, as well as the incredible music composed by Mark Mancina and Phil Collins, I knew that wouldn’t be the case. It’s one of the rare Disney animated films I loved during my childhood that is just as good–and maybe even better–as an adult.

A part of why Tarzan works so well is because most of the film feels like a visceral roller-coaster ride. With the amazing technological freedom of Deep Canvas, animators can create sequences–such as Tarzan swinging from vines–that make you feel like you’re literally in the film itself. There is this amazing shot in particular where Kala begins to run away from Sabor out of the treehouse where Tarzan’s parents were killed, and the “camera” moves around in different directions that wouldn’t be possible in animation over seventy years ago. Disney animation has certainly come a long way ever since Mickey Mouse started whistling on a steamboat.

But as exhilarating as those sequences are, the film works even better during the moments where it lets the atmosphere do the talking. I love the quieter moments in this film, such as when Tarzan is contemplating who he is at night, to a point where he has to cover himself up in mud in order to fit in with the rest of the apes. There’s also this really small, beautiful moment where Tarzan accidentally steps on a glass photo of his parents, where he eventually finds out how he was originated. It’s reflective moments like those that give the film’s atmosphere a tangible feeling uncommon in the majority of Disney’s output, and the result is absolutely beautiful.

When I was a kid, I’d always associate the feeling of summer similar to the environments that were depicted in Tarzan. Something about the combination of the artwork and the music (Mark Mancina is such an underappreciated composer) and the compassion that is displayed during this film makes me go back to being five-years old, still trying to understand how the world works. All the same, it makes me proud to have grown up and absorb everything I am continuing to learn from this film. One of my favorite moments in the film is when Clayton challenges Tarzan to shoot him with his gun, only for Tarzan to respond with “I’m not a man like you.” It shows, despite how he was raised, that he’s able to learn just as deeply as even the most civilized human being. I think us men can take a note of what Tarzan goes through in this film.

Sometimes, I think about why the Disney Magic is still alive and well within me after all these years, and I think it traces back to a conversation I had with my father. I asked him once if it would still be okay to enjoy a G-Rated film even as an adult. And he told me something along the lines of how you can always enjoy a G-rated movie, and that there wasn’t a limit to what you can or cannot enjoy, no matter what anyone tells you (he did, however, leave out that you can enjoy something as long as you’re being intelligent about it, but that’s something I was able to figure out for myself).

I may be twenty-five years old and counting, but something must be said about the impact Disney has made on millions of us throughout the ’90s, to a point where I decided to write about every single film released within this absolutely incredible era of Disney animation. Take a look at the differences between The Little Mermaid and Tarzan, and you would arguably understand where I’m coming from. The best Disney films are truly made for everyone, and I believe that some of these films released within the Disney Renaissance represents this idea tenfold.

Tarzan is easily one of those films. Even with the pop-centric hits of Phil Collins (which is some of the best music I’ve ever heard in a Disney film, and I dare you all to challenge me on that front), the film has a timeless quality that has stood proud these past twenty years, and will continue to stand the test of time years later. Much like Beauty and the Beast, the story this film tells is a heartfelt study on what it truly means to be human, no matter what species you are.

It’s about as perfect of a Disney film as you can possibly imagine.

Just like A Goofy Movie.





Let’s talk about Lea Salonga for a bit.

For the uninitiated Disney fan, Lea Salonga is responsible for being the singing voice of both Jasmine and Mulan. If you hear a slight difference in vocal work when the character is singing, it’s because that Lea is beautifully singing the songs. Two years ago, I had the amazing opportunity of winning a lottery ticket for the Broadway revival of Michael Arden’s Once On This Island, where I got the privilege of seeing Lea Salonga perform as Erzulie. At the stage door, I was having trouble taking a selfie with her, so I gave her my phone, and she took the photo of both of us!


I bring her up in this post because she has been responsible for so many of our childhoods, and I didn’t even know about it until later on in my life. Meeting her at the stage door, and talking about how good her vocal work was on “Reflection”, was an unforgettable experience that was the equivalent of Disney magic at its finest.

Also, the fact that this happened in New York around Christmastime? It really is a wonderful life.

Okay, now back to Mulan.

Mulan is a rare Disney film that’s at its best when it’s intimate. Sure, the grander moments in Mulan–such as an army of huns galloping down a snowy mountain on their horses– are undeniably jaw-dropping. But it’s the smaller moments in Mulan–both comedic and dramatic–that make the film work as well as it does:

–When every potential maiden sings “please bring honor to us” except for Mulan, symbolizing that she’s different from the other maidens.

–Those few seconds of silence where Mulan’s family is eating dinner together, unsure of what will happen to Mulan’s father.

–When Mulan’s father blows his candle out, making Mulan realize that he could die in the war, so she takes his place so he can be safe (Seriously, Mulan is one of the most empowering Disney characters ever created).

–Mushu not telling the difference between a cow and a horse.

–Mushu squirting out a large amount of toothpaste in his mouth while brushing his teeth (which…is what I did as a kid. I was weird).

–Chi-Fu squealing like a girl.

–The dramatic shift in tone after “A Girl Worth Fighting For”, where Shang’s army slowly walks into a decaying village destroyed by the Huns. It’s an absolutely chilling moment.

–This shot:

–Mushu sledding down a hill in order to rescue Mulan (again, when I was a kid sledding down a hill of snow, I pretended that I was Mushu. I miss the ’90s).

–Mulan telling herself to get off the roof before Shan Yu is destroyed by fireworks.

–Mulan coming home to her father to present the gifts from the emperor, only for her father to tell her that the greater gift is having her for a daughter.

–And finally, anything involving Mulan’s grandmother. And I literally mean anything. She’s one of my favorite Disney characters of all-time.

There are other moments I can mention, but those are the prime examples. Even at its grandest, Mulan never forgets that it’s a personal journey of being “true to your heart”, no matter how funny or serious you can be.

And despite not being a full-on Disney musical compared to some of the others in the Disney Renaissance (it pretty much forgets that it even had songs in the film’s third act), Mulan nevertheless has some unforgettable zingers. My favorite, and I’m sure it’s pretty much everyone’s favorite in this film, is “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You”. Not only is it great motivation to start your morning routine, but it’s also great character development for Mulan to be a stronger individual than how she was in the beginning of the song. The song also gets a hilarious reprise during the film’s climax, where Mulan’s friends dress up as women in order to save the Emperor from the Huns.

Also, this film has the best set of end-credits music for a Disney film since The Lion King. Seriously, how can you not love Stevie Wonder contributing to “True To Your Heart?”

Mulan is a terrific Disney film. I don’t know if it’s quite in my top five of the Disney Renaissance, but it’s pretty close. The animation, per the norm for a Disney animated film released in the ’90s, is absolutely stunning. The story is well-written with solid characters, who are unafraid (sometimes arrogantly so) to speak their thoughts about some uncomfortable topics, such as genocide and especially sexism (Chi-Fu, in my opinion, is just as worse as Shan Yu). And Jerry Goldsmith’s score for this film is an all-timer, creating an atmosphere that fits beautifully with the overall experience.

Disney truly brought honor to all of us with this film.