What would The Wizard of Oz be without “Somewhere Over the Rainbow?” Who can (or even wants to) imagine Jaws with out its iconic “Dun-Dun…” or Star Wars without its sweeping orchestral score?
From the early days of silent films to today with beloved songs like “Circle of Life” and “My Heart Will Go On,” music and movies have always gone hand in hand. This Season, FST is celebrating this artistry with Reel Music.
“This Cabaret features a wonderful lineup of songs that will transport you back in time with warm memories of cherished films and stories you’ve enjoyed over the years,” said Show Director Catherine Randazzo. “These are songs that have won our hearts and permeated our culture.”
“I connect most with the Disney classic, ‘When You Wish Upon A Star,’” shared Richard Hopkins, one of the show’s developers. “It takes me back to my childhood and the shear beauty of arts and the childlike imagination of the theatre world.”
While music has the distinct ability to stir our emotions and memories, movies—and the music in them—have another superpower: they keep an ongoing record of our shared history. At the tail end of The Great Depression, fantasy-filled films like Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs and The Wizard of Oz helped audiences escape to magical worlds where forest creatures sing and dreams come true. Decades later, The Brat Pack reflected the rebelliousness and angst teenagers were experiencing during the 1980s.
“In a way, Reel Music reveals the history of America,” said Hopkins. “By tracking the music of our country from the early 20th century to the present, you see how the music of the cinema captured the shifting moods of this country. You can concisely see how our culture changed in both dramatic and subtle ways.”
Some may remember FST’s 2012 edition of Reel Music. This Season’s version brings a larger, more diverse range of songs to the Cabaret stage.
“The first rendition of Reel Music a decade ago was really just a jumping off point for us,” said Rebecca Hopkins, one of the show’s developers. “This Season’s production still touches on silent movies and the popularity of movie musicals in the ‘50s. But this time around, the show features a wider variety of movie genres.”
Classics like “Hooray for Hollywood” and “Puttin’ On the Ritz” will now be joined by the jazz standard “Stormy Weather” and the early Rock & Roll hit “La Bamba.”
Liz Power, who performed in the first edition of Reel Music, is excited to return to the Cabaret stage in this year’s new show.
“Reel Music was my very first Cabaret at FST, and even though I have done three more Cabarets since then, Reel Music has always been my favorite,” said Power. “It connected with the audience in a very organic, authentic way. These are songs that can transport people back to a certain time or memory, and I’m sure the new version will do the same.”
For show Director Catherine Randazzo, the most exciting part of taking on the artistic challenge of this show is getting to interpret these well-known songs for the Cabaret and bringing them to life in a new, theatrical way.
“I can still hear the sound of the last part of a film flapping at the end of the movie from the projector booth,” Randazzo remembers, fondly. “Of course, today’s digital technology has transformed the way we experience the movies and their memorable scores. In Reel Music and through the stage, we will experience these hits again in yet another new format. Even a century later, this music truly never ‘gets old.'”
Reel Music plays in FST’s Court Cabaret starting February 15, 2023. For tickets and more information, click here.
Header Image: Joel Newsome and Michael Mendez. Photo by John Jones.