Elfman Haunts PBS Halloween Schedule

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Composer Danny Elfman at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

The PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” series presents “Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton,” featuring scores from blockbuster films such as Batman, Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland and The Nightmare Before Christmas, among others.

The program, which airs Oct. 30, was recorded with conductor John Mauceri leading the Concert Chorale of New York, the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and a handful of soloists in voicing excerpts from teh 15 scores on which Elfman and Burton have collaborated.

Elfman himself appears onstage to sing several songs he wrote for the character of Jack Skellington for the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, for which he provided the onscreen singing voice as well as recording vocals for the soundtrack.

In an incandescent July 12 New York Times review Anthony Tommasini  wrote that the highbrow performances at Lincoln’s tony Avery Fisher Hall  “does not usually draw crowds of gawkers and rows of photographers to the center’s plaza,” but that was the scene for the Elfman-Burton show, with dozens of attendees costumed as their favorite Burton characters. The review goes on to acknowledge a concert of nuance and substance “with its own musical integrity,” and tips a hand to Burton creating a visual backscreen that drew on film clips, sketches and story boards.

Elfman’s closing ovation from the appreciative crows “was almost terrifyingly loud, with screeching like something out of a Burton film,” Tommasini concluded.

The program was announced by PBS Aug. 1 at the Television Critics Association tour in Los Angeles, where a Latin musical tribute to Michael Jackson,  a concert performance by Broadway star Chita Rivera and  productions of Show Boat and Billy Elliott The Musical were also unveiled as part of the  line-up for the 2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival.

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