Photo by Catherine Carney
So….”Un-Block The Music” uses “Waze” as the GPS of choice. Cookie Monster is my preferred voice. I listen to the Sesame Street Christmas album every year. It’s safe to say, that Sesame Street has added a positive spin to my life. So…I received an invitation to write about the upcoming Off-Broadway show, All Hallows Eve. The invite says “a wild, eclectic horror musical with puppets.” Then, I see the names Marty Robinson and Paul Rudolph. OMG! They are from Sesame Street! What are they doing creating a scary musical? Luckily for me, Paul Rudolph agreed to talk to me!
First off, the day “Un-Block The Music” spoke with Paul, they were loading in the theater for the show which opens on October 18 and runs through November 2 at The Connelly Theater in New York City. The book for All Hallows Eve’s was written by Marty Robinson. He also created the puppet design and is directing the show. Paul Rudolph composed the music and works on sound design. Paul Rudolf is also the talent behind Glank. If you don’t recognize that name, I bet you have heard what they do. Glank is a percussion group with a twist. They don’t play drums, but rather create music on recycled metal such as propane tanks, saw blades, artillery shells, motorcycle gear, you name it! Check them out at: https://www.glankglankglank.com.
How did Marty and Paul come together? They met through Paul’s wife, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, the puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and, yes…Cookie Monster’s mom! Originally, Paul and Leslie worked on Muppets Tonight. Producer Kevin Clash loved her voice so much, he offered her a job at Sesame Street. “Some time later, Kevin asked me if I would be interested in auditioning for Sesame Street. I said, ‘Absolutely!’”
Paul auditioned with an arrangement of “Sing.” “I wasn’t in line to be a composer, but to be a music director for vocal performance. I got the gig.” For 10 years, Paul had worked for Trivers/Myers Music in LA. He credits them with learning how to work in a studio, and says that is how he learned digital sound recording and production experience with Pro Tools digital workstation. Paul took those skills to Sesame Street and began working with the whole cast. “I record them now in my office. I run Pro Tools (which is a with my right hand and conduct them with my left!,” Paul laughs.
So, how does Paul’s Glank experience fit into the picture? Paul had been performing with Glank in LA for some time, but “Marty went to the first Glank show I did in New York at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club. I had stepped up the musicality from what I was doing in LA. I hired percussionists that were Julliard trained; amazing percussionists. With Glank the audience becomes part of the show.” Marty liked it. Thoughts about All Hallows Eve started about that time.
Paul says, that Marty is a fan of immersive theater and shows such as Sleep No More (https://mckittrickhotel.com/sleep-no-more/). He asked Paul if he would be interested in writing a couple of songs. So, the two collaborated on a 15-minute presentation of giant scary pumpkins and skeletons performed during the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. It received a great response, and the two have been working on the show since. About a year and a half ago, they booked a residence at the O’Neill for two weeks. They tweaked it and wrote more music, then invited investors and producers to see it. That’s when the team decided the show would get an Off-Broadway run.
This is immersive theater, the audience is not only part of the show, but they also move throughout. “Because of this, we had to take away a lot of seating, tickets are limited. We can only fit about 45 people in there at once. We start in the lobby, and the audience moves through and eventually will come to seating. Everything happens around them. You are close to the puppeteers. It’s very intimate,” Paul explains. Is the show appropriate for children? Well, it’s Halloween. “There’s a little blood. Pumpkinhead might go splat, but it is not human gore.”
“Un-Block The Music” has more to share about Paul and All Hallows Eve, but I just wanted to whet your appetite. I will be there on October 27, and will share the rest after I see the show! If you want to go too, here is the link: https://allhallowsevemusical.com/ for more information. See you there!