EXPANDING THE WORLD OF LIVE PERFORMANCE OF FILM MUSIC

Growing up listening to film music was fairly limited to hearing it in the movie or on a soundtrack album.

Occasional a pops orchestra might do a “Tribute to Hollywood” concert or artists like Henry Mancini or John Williams would take the stage.

Movie Music nights featuring orchestras playing live to film started taking off silent films like NAPOLEON and occasionally films like E.T.

Over the last decade there has been an explosion of live-to-film events covering such films as BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS. HOME ALONE, BATMAN, THE GODFATHER, RAIDERS OF THE LIST ARK, GLADIATOR, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, STAR TREK, RATATOUILLE, FANTASIA,PUNCH DRUNK LOVE and HARRY POTTER.

As this appreciation and celebration of film music becomes somewhat commonplace, new concepts of how to present film music to live audiences are beginning to emerge.

Hans Zimmer just kicked off a major European tour approaching it more like a rock show. STAR TREK is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a touring show.

I have personally been involved in a number of live shows designed to celebrate film music in new ways.

DANNY ELFMAN’S MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF TIM BURTON has played around the world featuring orchestra, soloists, film clips, montages and displays of artwork and, frequently, live singing performances by Elfman. (This show even became a TV Special as part of LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER).

Next was bringing a whole movie musical to the concert stage. WESTSIDE STORY paved the way by having a live orchestra perform to the film’s recorded singing tracks.

That evolved into the next step of singing songs live while the film unspooled.

I was one of the producers behind bringing NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS LIVE IN CONCERT to the Hollywood Bowl featuring the original cast (Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reuben and Ken Page) performing live to picture.

Today a concert was announced of an animated movie musical live-to-picture with an all-star cast, unrelated to the original actors, performing the songs.

I am the creative director and one of the producers of Alan Menken’s
THE LITTLE MERMAID LIVE IN CONCERT AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL.

Here’s our cast:

SARA BAREILLES (Ariel)
REBEL WILSON (Ursula)
TITUSS BURGESS (Sebastian)
DARREN CRISS (Prince Eric)
NORM LEWIS (King Triton)
JOSHUA COLLEY (Flounder)
and
JOHN STAMOS (Chef Louis)

Guest Star will be ALAN MENKEN himself performing a medley of his innumerable hits. Topping this off will be a fireworks spectacular and costume contest.

As these types of show continue to grow in popularity, it will be fascinating to discover what the next generation of these events will become.

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