TV Review: “Encore!” on Disney+ Is A Fun Flashback To Glory Days

The 2007 cast of "Beauty and the Beast" reunite for an encore performance.

For months, we have anticipated the release of the new streaming service, Disney+. With promises of original content in line with Disney themes and values, “Encore!” does not disappoint as one of the new shows on the streaming service.

From executive producer Kristen Bell comes “Encore!” a new series that gathers high school alumni who performed in a musical to reunite and perform the same show one more time, 10 to 20 years later. With no set cast, each episode follows a different set of alumni and travels to places like Santee, California and Saginaw, Texas.

Essentially a reality show, these real people only have a week to put together their entire show. With the same cast in the same roles from high school, many of the participants haven’t done any performing in the years since. They are provided with a director, a choreographer, and a music director, along with some professional performers to fill out the cast. Watching old friends catch up is fun and brings a warm, nostalgic feeling to this new series.

The 1996 cast of “Annie” at Santana High School in Santee, CA reunites for an encore performance.

The first episode follows alumni from Santana High School in Santee, California, just outside of San Diego. Reuniting after 23 years, they work together to put on “Annie” in a very short amount of time. Several of the cast members are stay-at-home mothers excited to show their kids they can do more than pack lunches.

Arguably the best part of the show, it is satisfying and sweet to see the kids’ faces as they watch their parents perform onstage. This, in turn, delivers the main message that you can go home again and you can step out of your comfort zone.

The 2007 cast of “Beauty and the Beast” at Saginaw High School, Texas reunites for an encore performance.

The second episode follows alumni from Saginaw, Texas as they put together “Beauty and the Beast” 12 years later. This cast deals with raw emotions from unresolved feelings and seeing exes. They get a surprise when their old drama teacher arrives to reprise his role as Maurice. This drama teacher’s return provides some sweet emotional reunions as it’s clear this teacher had a lasting and positive impact on these students.

Susan Egan, the original Tony-nominated Belle, surprises the cast by joining the director in the final days of rehearsal to coach. Although rehearsals are rough and many things go wrong, putting on a perfect show is not the point. These friends are there to have fun and revisit their youth.

Each cast has a great time reuniting with old friends and returning home for an encore performance. Fun and heartwarming, this show is a fun flashback to high school glory days. By the end, you’ll want to call your high school friends and see if they can get together.

“Encore!” premieres on Disney+ on Tuesday, November 12. The first two episodes were screened for review.

GRADE: (★)

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