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Danny Elfman: The 'Nightmare' Maestro Speaks About Upcoming Hollywood Bowl Shows

September 7, 2018

By Scott T. Sterling

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, an unusual chill creeps through the air…

For one, it’s not record-breakingly and soul-crushingly hot (well, maybe it is. You just never know around here). For another, the approaching fall season sends the young and the young at heart dreaming of just one thing. No, not pumpkin spice: Halloween.

For this Halloween season, Los Angeles will be graced with a very special live performance of Tim Burton’s "The Nightmare Before Christmas" at the Hollywood Bowl on October 26-27. It’s become something of a tradition around these parts, but don’t tell Danny Elfman that. The legendary film score composer and Oingo Boingo frontman will be reprising his role as Jack Skellington for the 2018 show, which he told KROQ’s Kevin & Bean almost didn’t happen until he was reminded of a certain fact.

“I did it not last year, but the previous two years I did it. Then I decided, ‘well, I don’t think I’m going to do it anymore.’ And then my managers came back and said, ‘It’s the 25th anniversary.’ And I said, ‘Oh. Ouch,” Effman joked during the interview Tuesday morning to promote the shows.

He talked about being slightly reluctant to do the show regularly, as he never wants it to become routine or simply expected. Still, the thought of bringing the movie to life for fans brings Elfman a special thrill. “It is magic. I have not gotten sick of doing the Jack character. Fortunately, when I started this five years ago. I’d never done Jack live. I don’t do it all the time. I do it seldom enough… I haven’t grown fatigued from it or sick of it,” he explained. “We have ten songs. So it’s kind of a unique musical. Most contemporary musicals have five or six. Tim and I didn’t really know anything about how to put together what a musical is supposed to be. We didn’t even have a script at that point.”

When asked if he’d ever considered writing a “proper” musical, Effman talked about working for two years on a Houdini musical that never got off the ground. In contrast, he talked about how all ten songs came together in about 10 days.

The maestro also revealed that he’s not the biggest fan of musicals, but that a pair of contemporary hits earn his highest praises: Book of Mormon (which he called “hysterical”) and Hamilton, which left him in awe.

Related: Watch Oingo Boingo’s 1987 Irvine Halloween Concerts

“I went in there really skeptical. You know, it’s a rap thing,” he chuckled about his thoughts going into Hamilton. “They can’t sustain that for a whole thing. And then somewhere around the fifth or sixth song I went, ‘Oh, man. He can sustain it.’ Somewhere about the middle of the first act, I said, ‘OK. I give up. This is just brilliant.’”

HOLLYWOOD BOWL SHOWS

Los Angeles' reigning Pumpkin King, Danny Elfman, will return to the Hollywood Bowl on Friday and Saturday, October 26 & 27 at 8:00 pm performing his role of Jack Skellington singing live to film for a very special screening of Disney's timeless holiday classic, Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas" for the film’s 25th anniversary.

The immersive experience will include live scenery projections, live orchestra, spectacular guest artists, and an all-star cast. Elfman will be joined by other original cast members including Catherine O'Hara (Sally) and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie) who headlined the opening production, which sold out two nights over Halloween weekend at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015 and returned for 3 nights in 2016 due to overwhelming demand.

Tickets to both Hollywood Bowl shows go on sale Saturday, September 8th at 10am via Ticketmaster.com. KROQ Street Team members will have access to an exclusive presale on Friday, September 7th at 12pm. Use password KROQNBX to purchase tickets early.