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Spirit of Pocahontas Show at Disney-MGM Studios

Spirit of Pocahontas


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Spirit of Pocahontas Backlot Theater Disney MGM Studios

 This musical in the Backlot Theater opened June 23, 1995, which was the same day that the animated film was released.  Prior to the show, orchestral arrangements from the film were played.  The stage depicted a Virginia forest setting, complete with rocky outcroppings and a 28-foot tall Grandmother Willow puppet.  The framing device used for the musical was a ceremonial powwow performed by the Powhatan tribe.  A storyteller named Werowance told the story of Pocahontas and John Smith.  The musical did not feature Governor Ratcliffe, Meeko, Percy or Flit.  The show closed February 24, 1996 and was replaced by the Hunchback of Notre Dame: A Musical Adventure show.

"Steady as the Beating Drum"

Pocahontas Stage Show Disney MGM Studios

 The show began with Powhatan drummers removing a deerskin blanket with the show's logo and summoning members of the tribe to the powwow.  As the tribal members sang "Steady as the Beating Drum", they danced around a male member of the tribe carrying a box with the necklace that belonged to Pocahontas's mother.  Werowance welcomes the audience and a deerskin with stylized designs of the story is unveiled.  He invokes the spirit of Pocahontas and she appears from behind the deerskin.  The storyteller assumes the role of her father, Chief Powhatan and gives her the necklace that belonged to her mother.  Her father wants her to be steady like the river but she is longing for something else.  

"Just Around the Riverbend"

 As Pocahontas sings "Just Around the Riverbend", she rides a "canoe" litter that is carried by two of the men in the tribe.  She then goes to Grandmother Willow, telling her she has had troublesome dreams that something is about to happen in the wind.  Grandmother Willow tells her to listen to the spirits of the wind and that they will guide her.  Pocahontas hears the wind and it tells her about "strange clouds" coming.   She does a reprise of the song and climbs a tree on the opposite side of the stage, telling Grandmother Willow that she sees the "clouds".  

"The Virginia Company" / "Colors of the Wind"

Pocahontas Show Disney MGM Studios

 The tribal members unfurl cloth sails and carry sticks with clothes and hats on them to depict the English settlers.  Captain John Smith appears and sings "Mine, Mine, Mine" and fires his gun.  Pocahontas watches him and the two of them meet.  She introduces him to Grandmother Willow and she says he has a good soul.  He tells her he comes from a "village" named London and that the men are going to build a village to show the "uncivilized savages" how to properly take care of the land.  Pocahontas takes offence at what he says.  As Pocahontas sings "Colors of the Wind", she shows him how the Powhatan live in harmony with land.  Several tribal members dress as animals such as a wolf, bobcat, fox, bear, deer, eagle and turkey.  

"Savages"

 Pocahontas and John Smith begin to fall in love but unrest develops between the Powhatan and the English settlers due to gold.  The two sides demonize each other and then battle.  John Smith is taken prisoner and is about to be executed but Pocahontas pleads for his life because she loves him.  She tells her father that he was right when he told her that sometimes the right path is not the easiest one and she makes everyone realize what a demon hatred is.  They leave the stage and Werowance tells the audience how everyone is connected and he tribe reprises "Colors of the Wind".  Pocahontas and John Smith appear on the rocky outcropping in the back of the stage and the wind and leaves blow around them.  

Spirit of Pocahontas stage show Disney MGM Studio

Merchandise and Legacy

  Merchandise made just for the show included a picture frame and hat.  A commemorative  one day ticket and medallion were also produced for the show's debut.  A  different show called Colors of the Wind: Friends from the Animal Forest (later called Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends) later opened in 1998 at Camp Minnie-Mickey in Animal Kingdom and lasted until 2008.

Variations in the Disneyland Show

Disneyland version of Spirit of Pocahontas

 Disneyland's version of the show opened at the Fantasyland Theatre the same day as Florida's show.  There were several differences, including a different stage design that included carved totems around the fire.  Pocahontas tells her father about her dreams instead of Grandmother Willow and Powhatan tells Pocahontas that she will marry Kocoum. The English settlers are depicted differently by the Powhatan in this show.  Instead of the clothes on sticks, the members of the tribe wear masks that appear to be made of mother of pearl.  During "Colors of the Wind", there are fewer animals and there is a dance sequence featuring hoops.  




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