Yesterday, we shared a challenging quiz inspired by Chita Rivera’s professed love of things Disney. We’re reposting it today, this time followed by detailed, trivia-packed answers. Meanwhile, don’t forget to order your tickets for Chita’s four special performances at Feinstein’s at the Nikko on November 9-11.
Below, find descriptions of performers based on their Broadway roles and the Disney characters they’ve played in animated films. Can you match the stage and screen clues—and name the performer? Hint: Three of the featured entertainers have performed at Feinstein’s at the Nikko!
1. This performer isn’t part of the Four Seasons, but she’s been one of three Summers.
2. This performer portrayed a singing slave—a part later played by Whoopi Goldberg.
3. She played Dolly Levi in a recent revival and won the first of her two Tony awards singing Sondheim.
4. After winning a Tony for her breakthrough stage role, she’s played characters named Erzulie and Eponine.
5. She played a beleaguered, betrayed mother in a recent musical that surely passed the Bechdel test.
6. She’s won three lead actress Tony awards but has never won an Oscar, despite a record-holding six nominations.
Disney animation clues
A. Her singing talent has taken her from the Great Wall to a great carpet.
B. Her animated character’s big song became a Top Ten radio hit for another actress (who once replaced Chita Rivera in a Broadway role).
C. She played the muse of dance in ancient Greece.
D. Better known for playing the live action version of a famous Disney villain, she sings a duet with Phil Collins in her only animated Disney role.
E. Things get hairy for this performer’s character, who bites the dust by the end of this CGI-animated feature, one of the most expensive animated films of all time.
F. He played a rascally meerkat, terrified by a creature voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.
1C/LACHANZE — Feinstein’s vet #1
A veteran Feinstein’s at the Nikko performer, single-monikered actress (born Rhonda LaChanze Sapp) was one of three actresses who shared the role of Donna Summer in this year’s hit jukebox bio-musical. In Disney’s “Hercules,” she played Terpsichore, the muse of dance. LaChanze won the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award in 1985, playing Celie in “The Color Purple,” a role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film version of the Alice Walker novel.
2F/ NATHAN LANE
Lane played Roman slave Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” on Broadway, and Timon, in Disney’s feature”The Lion King.” Whoopi Goldberg replaced Lane, becoming Broadway’s first female Pseudolus and played Shenzi, the hyena, in “The Lion King” film.
Murphy, perhaps best known in theater circles for her Tony-winning lead role in Sondheim’s “Passion,” substituted for Bette Midler at one performance each week during the recent “Hello Dolly!” revival and took on the role during Midler’s vacations. In “Tangled”, Disney’s 2010 riff on the Rapunzel story, Murphy played villainess Mother Gothel. As it happens, her co-Dollies—Midler and Bernadette Peters—have also voiced animated Disney characters: Midler played a French poodle named Georgette in “Oliver and Company,” a 1988 canine take on Oliver Twist; Peters as angel ornament Angelique in a direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.”
4A/LEA SALONGA – Feinstein’s vet #2
Acclaimed Filipina actress Salonga won both Tony and Olivier awards for originating the role of Kim in “Miss Saigon” on Broadway and the West End. She’s also played Eponine in Les Miz on Broadway and—most recently (ending this past May)—was featured as Erzulie in the revival of “Once On This Island” (A role played in the original 1991 production by LaChanze). For Disney, Salonga has provided the singing voices for two unforgettable animated leads, Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin” and the title role in “Mulan.”
5B/JUDY KUHN – Feinstein’s vet #3
Kuhn was Tony-nominated for her powerful work in “Fun Home,” the musical based on lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s stirring graphic novel. In Disney’s 1995 “Pocahontas,” Kuhn supplied the title character’s singing voice in songs including “Colors of the Wind,” which was re-recorded in a pop version by Vanessa Williams which climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Williams, by the way, replaced Chita Rivera as Aurelia in the Broadway musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” a role for which Rivera had won a Tony).
After earlier Tony awards for “Death and the Maiden” and “The Real Thing,” Close’s musical turn as Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” may well have provided the template for her portrayal of Cruella DeVille in Disney’s live-action version of “101 Dalmatians” and its sequel, but her animated Disney role was a more nurturing type: Close played Kala, the ape-mom of “Tarzan,” whose lullaby “You’ll Be In My Heart” became one of Disney’s biggest hit songs ever, in a solo recording by its composer, Phil Collins, who sings on the soundtrack version as well. In one of her most famous film roles, Close boiled a bunny. Don’t tell Thumper.