I am well aware that this website is about baking. I am also well aware that I (Jon-Marc McDonald) control most of its content. Therefore, on rare occasions, when something happens that is very exciting but has nothing to do with baking I might stray from the site's primary purpose. Which brings me to the reason for this post.
As of yesterday the official website for the upcoming Disney animated musical feature film, The Princess and the Frog, is up and I encourage all my readers to take a look. Why? Well my very good friend, Michael-Leon Wooley, is the voice of Louis the alligator in the movie. Michael, who was last seen on the big screen playing Tiny Joe Dixon in the movie Dreamgirls and can be seen in the upcoming movie Ghost Town
(click picture for the trailer where M-L plays a medical attorney who tells Ricky Gervais he died "a little bit less"), has a voice that the Washington Post described as "golden throated" and the next-to-impossible-to-please theater critic Ben Brantley of the New York Times called "soulful". Michael is also a veteran of Broadway where he was last seen (heard) as the voice of Audrey II, the man-eating plant, in the revival of Little Shop of Horrors. In addition, M-L has done innumerable voice campaigns for various commercials. On any given day you are sure to hear his voice on TV.
The Princess and the Frog, scheduled for release in December/2009 is a 2-D film (traditional animation, meaning they draw the whole thing instead of using computers) and will be the first Disney animated movie that features an African-American princess. The cast includes Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jennifer Lewis, Jim Cummings, Peter Bartlett, John Goodman, Jennifer Cody, Angela Bassett and my friend, the incomparable Michael-Leon Wooley. The film is being scored and composed by Randy Newman and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
And one other thing. Michael performed the song " We Have to Change " by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell at a Barack Obama fundraiser in New York City on August 11. The song was written specifically for the fundraiser.
So why does this warrant a mention on my blog? Because Michael, a man with a heart of gold and gentle spirit, has been such an incredible friend during some extremely dark times in my life.
I should note that, on occasion, I act as Michael's publicist. However, that is not why I am writing this on BITYMI. I am writing as a friend. And now that production for Princess is under way I wanted to take this time and let him know how very proud I am to call him my friend! No one deserves this more!
The interesting thing about this picture is that literally seconds after it was taken (by the inimitable Michael Steele, website here) M-L left for an audition for Princess. The picture is from March 7th, 2007.