Tuesday, June 14, 2011
June 14: Hoop-De-Doo!
A dinner show that still runs today, the revue started life as part of the Walt Disney World College Fine Arts Workshop. A special summer program that allowed talented college kids from all over the country to perform at WDW, the workshop also included the All American Marching Band and the Kids of the Kingdom.
A Disney cast member named Bob Jani (at the time Vice President for Live Entertainment) wanted to put together something at a large restaurant that sat in Fort Wilderness. Used to serve meals to campers, Pioneer Hall (opened since April 1974) had a huge stage and Jani felt the facility was being under-utilized.
A western musical was put together, with the help of director Larry Billman and veteran songwriter Tom Adair, called Hoop-De-Doo. (Adair had helped write music for Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revue.) The original college workshop company of enthusiastic performers included Marilyn Magness, Ted King, John Windsor, Jude Kothman, Kate Richards, Gary Kortemier, Leslie Norris, and Brad Gooding. The show's concept was simple - a group of performers would provide an evening's worth of song, dance and entertainment while the audience enjoyed an all-you-care-to-eat family style meal. The show was a smash hit.
But as the summer of 1974 came to an end, Disney management realized the cast would be returning to their respective colleges. Disney wanted to hire the performers full-time ... but wasn't in a position to persuade students to drop out of college to work at a campground. An all-pro cast was assembled and the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue continued.
Today it is one of the longest running shows in WDW history with over 35,000 performances!
Discover more June 14 Disney history HERE.