It was for the kids.
Kids with sticky cotton-candy faces and clothes spotted with mustard and catsup. Kids squirming on Mommy's lap or in rapt attention on Daddy's shoulders.
And there were kids in great numbers Thursday night at Capital Centre to enjoy the Disney Symphonic Spectacular.
An intermission straw poll on what was best resulted in a tie: three votes for emcee Mickey Mouse and three for the "Jungle Book" number, with "The Snow White Ballet" ("great costumes") a close second.
There were enough Disney tunes from the movies and the cartoons to please any fan -- "Someday My Prince Will Come" from "Snow White," Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and even "The Mickey Mouse Club March." And all were performed with an enthusiasm appropriate to the event by the National Symphony Orchestra and the Masterworks Chorus, expertly led by Bo Ayers.
The cavernous acoustics did not favor the music, which was amplified to earsplitting volume just to fill the hall and to cover the sounds of the audience (with children, attentiveness doesn't mean silence).
The dancing was terrific, especially the chimney sweeps' "Step in Time" from "Mary Poppins," and the colorful costumes were appealing -- giant dancing penguins, elephants marching down the aisles, and a whole deck of cards from "Alice in Wonderland."
There were flaws. The music was to hold the evening together (thus a "symphonic spectacular"), but the mere presence of an orchestra, however excellent, and the fact that the music was all associated with Disney productions were simply not enough. There was no thematic connection -- no plot -- between the sets, and the lines for the emcee (Mr. Mouse) were horrible -- something like "You just heard music from the movie 'Mary Poppins,' which won four Oscars, and one of them was for . . . "
Twice during the evening the NSO switched to its Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor Fabio Mechetti to present selections from "Fantasia" in symphonic form. It would have been wonderful under better performing conditions, but in the circus atmosphere the nuances were lost. For that reason alone, the louder pieces were better: "Night on Bald Mountain" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" at times were rousing and for a time got some attention.
But it was for the kids.