Abigail Barlow, left, and Emily Bear won a Grammy for “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical.” (Photo by Igor Kasyanyuk/provided)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Disney is bringing Moana and Maui back to the big screen and Grammy-winning Rockford native Emily Bear is behind the soundtrack.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger made the surprise announcement Wednesday that “Moana 2” will open in theaters Nov. 27.

Bear, 22, and Abigail Barlow teamed up again to create the music for the new feature film. Barlow and Bear previously wrote “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” which won a Grammy in 2022.

“I’m literally shaking writing this but for the last two years, Abigail and I have secretly been living a songwriters dream, writing all the new songs for ‘Moana 2,'” Bear wrote on Facebook. “This has literally been the hardest thing to keep secret but I am so so beyond excited to finally be able to start sharing this journey with you all. The adventure of our favorite wayfinder continues and it’s better than ever.”

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The soundtrack will also feature music from Mark Mancina and Grammy nominee Opetaia Foa’i.

The first adventure of “Moana” made more than $680 million at the global box office and has been streamed for more than 1 billion hours on Disney+, according to The Associated Press.

“Moana remains an incredibly popular franchise and we can’t wait to give you more of Moana and Maui,” Iger said in his statement.

Bear, who grew up in Rockford and now lives in Los Angeles, is a piano prodigy who gained national attention for her appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Shows” starting at age 6. She made her first appearance at Carnegie Hall at age 9.

The daughter of Andrea and Dr. Brian Bear of Rockford has won numerous music awards prior to her Grammy and garnered millions of views on social media. In 2022, she was listed on Forbes’ 30 under 30.

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at khaas@rockrivercurrent.com or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

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