Yester California Adventure at YesterlandChance to Shine
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Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article



 

Three unusually dressed women are walking through the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

Who are they? And what are they doing here? They don’t look like park guests.

Oh wait! This is supposed to be a movie studio, so they must be actresses, making movies in the nearby soundstages. That’s it. Let’s figure out what kind of movies they’re in.

Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
She must be in a Carmen Miranda musical.
 
Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
She must be in the saloon scene of a Hollywood Western.
 
Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
Not all space aliens look like Spielberg’s E.T.

The three women have stopped in the middle of the street near Disney Animation.

Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
More than just “streetmosphere”—it’s a show.

The space alien begins to belt out a song—and can she sing! Soon all three entertainers are singing about what it’s like to go from one small role to another. They dream of getting speaking parts some day.

Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
They can sing! They can dance! They can ad lib!
 
Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
Playing to small audience (in more ways than one)

The saloon girl sings:

“The director needed someone who could lasso;
I claimed the quickest lasso in El Paso.”

An audience member is roped into joining the show. Soon, other audience members are asked to tap-dance. This show is interactive.


Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
Singing about a “chance to shine!”
 
Chance to Shine photo for Yesterland article
The perfect time to snap a photo.

They may only be extras in the movies, but they’re stars here at Yester California Adventure.


Chance to Shine premiered at Disney’s California Adventure in summer 2001.

The park had only opened in February of that year. Attendance was disappointing, and park management needed to do something fast. It takes a long time (and a lot of money) to build new attractions, but entertainment can be updated more quickly.

Goofy’s Beach Party Bash replaced Lights, Camera, Chaos! at the Hollywood Backlot Stage. Mickey Mouse and other characters presented a new show at the park’s Bountiful Valley Farm.

Somehow, despite the focus on adding Disney characters to the park that wasn’t “Disney” enough, the clever Chance to Shine show quietly debuted—with no Disney characters and no Disney movie tie-in. The show just had talented performers, catchy music, clever lyrics, and fun interaction with the audience.

Here’s how Disney observer Sue Kruse described Chance to Shine in 2001, comparing the show to the other new shows at the time:

“The last of the shows in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot is easily the best. In fact, that understates it. Allow me to rephrase. It’s truly terrific. It’s well written, well acted, well sung, well...it’s just good, really good. Go see this show and forget the rest. See it two or three times, go get yourself half a tortilla, and then come back and see it again.”

At first, the Chance to Shine trio performed on the concrete in front of the Hollywood & Dine food court “sound stage” building. When that eatery was locked up in an early cost-cutting move, this corner of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot became even more of a ghost town than before. The Chance to Shine shows moved to the main Hollywood street.

Chance to Shine lasted until spring 2004.


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© 2009-2010 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated December 17, 2010

Photograph of Chance to Shine cast walking: 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Chance to Shine actress in tropical costume: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine in western saloon costume: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine in space alien costume: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine cast performing on street: 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Chance to Shine cast with Animation building: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine cast with rope: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine cast on street (wide): 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of Chance to Shine cast with arms raised: 2001by Allen Huffman.