We’re fast approaching the release of Sing, the latest from the people behind Despicable Me. The movie is chock full of actors who can sing, but it’s not the only one.
The film’s plot centers on an American Idol-esque singing competition, so it’s no surprise that most of these actors will be belting out tunes. What may surprise readers is that this would once have been considered unusual.
Cartoons and music are like peanut butter and chocolate, and countless animated films feature musical numbers. However, it didn’t used to be the actors who would sing the songs. Before the advent of autotune and other technological ways to sweeten a voice, that was a big ask for actors who had enough on their plate just making the role believable.
This was the case even in Disney films like Aladdin and The Lion King. In Aladdin, Scott Weinger, the actor behind the title role wasn’t much of a vocalist at all. Instead, musician Brad Kane was brought in to play the Prince of Thieves… during the songs only.
The Lion King’s Simba required four different actors to pull off. Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick provided the voice acting for child and adult Simba, while Joseph Williams and Jason Weaver performed the songs.
Robin Williams, of course, was a consummate performer in any context, and did all his own musical numbers.
That’s movies, though. In TV shows that might feature only one or two songs across the entire run of the show, a voice actor who can pull their own musical weight is a godsend. The same in lower-budget films.
Here are some of our favorite times voice actors showed off their pipes in TV shows.
The seminal voice of Batman is an accomplished vocalist, but although he’s been playing the Dark Knight for decades, he hardly ever gets to show it.
Well, that’s not so surprising. Batman does NOT sing.
It turns out, he does sing when a mischievous sorceress turns his friends into pigs and asks a “favor” of Batman before she turns them back.
During the episode “This Little Piggy”, Wonder Woman villain Circe does just that. The result? A goofy (but AMAZING) scene in which Circe and Zatanna sit together and listen to Batman sing “Am I Blue?” while passing a handkerchief back and forth to wipe away their happy tears.
And Kevin Conroy? Awesome singing voice.