Photo credit: Richard Termine
How can you have more fun in a theater than you can watching and participating in a Halloween show created by Marty Robinson with music created by Paul Rudolph, both of Sesame Street Fame? Well…you can’t. After writing Part 1about the Off-Broadway show All Hallow’s Eve, “Un-Block The Music” promised to finish the story after I saw the show. I saw it Sunday. Understandably, the whole run at the Connelly Theater in NYC is sold out, BUT “Un-Block The Music” can get you in…..Keep reading.
As Part 1 of my interview with Paul Rudolph explained, Paul is known for his percussion chops. (https://unblockthemusic.blog/2019/10/17/sesame-streets-paul-rudolph-offers-a-glimpse-of-upcoming-horror-musical-all-hallows-eve-part-1/ )
During the show, the musicians were masked, but I figured out which one Paul was..obviously!! I love how many of the shows now have their pit band front and center for all to see. Anyway, when we spoke, Paul said he started experimenting with metal instruments 20 years ago (before Glank). “I am a percussionist and a punk at heart. My dream pit would be to include the whole clarinet family from soprano to contra, then run the music through distortion then take the essence of the instruments and destroy them,” he laughs.
The music in All Hallows Eve is mesmerizing to say the least. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry from fright. Paul did 90 percent of the sound scapes, but the live sound scapes continue on through the show at the hands and ears of Chris Sassano (one of the sound editors on Sesame Street). “For a theater show such as this, I feel like the sound scapes should meld right in with the music. I am using a lot of pieces of my own percussion. I record it, sample it, and put effects on it. I use it as a sound scape element within the music and the show.” Since the show is immersive and the audience moves through three different spaces, Marty felt the music should move too, that there should be an ambient sound such as the room breathing or a heartbeat. It’s scary and comical at the same time.”
What???? How did Paul get here? Well…he went to school at the University of Illinois, started as a band director and marched in Drums Corps. He didn’t really see himself in that career for a lifetime, so after grad school he went to Los Angeles. He worked for music director Richard Gibbs (also a punk at heart, he was the keyboard player for Oingo Boingo…remember them from 80s?). Paul worked with Richard on The Tracey Ullman Show, and did a couple of Hallmark movies before getting an offer to be the assistant music director on Muppets Tonight which ultimately lead him to Sesame Street.
All Hallows Eve encompasses all of Paul’s musical prowess. It’s a mix of musical styles from Bosa Nova, ballads, punk rock and organs. There are nods to The Nightmare Before Christmas and to Sesame Street. Paul says, there is a nod to Sesame’s Prairie Dawn in the distorted Welcome song.
You are probably wondering what the actual story is about. “Un-Block The Music” describes the show as Sesame Street meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The story begins at what appears to be a suburban house. Parents (played by Marcia Leigh, Tyler Bunch) are dressed to entice trick or treaters, much to the embarrassment and boredom of their twins Eve and Evan (played by Haley Jenkins, Spencer Lott). Eventually the kids mange to convince their parents to let them go off and trick or treat by themselves. They scurry off to create some Halloween night mischief. After toilet papering her house, they meet a demoness (played by Jennifer Barnhart). As described by the show’s creators, the action is “a harrowing cat-and-mouse game with the stakes being nothing less than their immortal souls.”
How do you get tickets to this sold out show? “Un-Block The Music” can help! Email me, the editor, Debbie Galante Block at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your name, number of tickets, phone, email, and the date you’d like to attend, and the production will confirm your ticket request!