Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood
Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is brought spectacularly into the 21st century in a brand-new adaptation of the children’s classic, Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood – created by critically acclaimed New York-based production company Giants Are Small in collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon.
The musical fairy-tale will be 80 years old next year and, in keeping with a radical reboot that transfers the 1936 story from Russia to California, it will be available not only as an album, but also as an interactive app for children, available on iTunes.
Adding a rock twist to the classical children’s favourite, the new version is narrated by rock superstars Alice Cooper (English version) and Campino (German), following in the footsteps of such famous predecessors as Sting and David Bowie, Sean Connery and Christopher Lee, Peter Ustinov and Boris Karloff.
In Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood, newly orphaned Peter flies from Russia to Los Angeles, where he is taken in by his grandfather – an ageing hippie who works as a gardener for a Hollywood movie star. Finding it hard to make friends in his new home, Peter instead forms friendships with the creatures around him, including a duck and a bird – though not the movie star’s spoiled, stand-offish cat! Peter gets the chance to become a hero when a wolf escapes from the zoo. Coming from Russia, where wolves roam in the wild, Peter is unafraid and figures out an ingenious way to catch the wolf.
The result is an album and app with a humorous and topical fresh take on a much-loved classic, exploring themes of family and friendship, courage and heroism, and set against the backdrop of today’s media-saturated celebrity world.
Alice Cooper says that narrating Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood took him back to his childhood. “I first heard this back in Detroit, when I was six or seven years old. My mom put the record on and I was instantly transported to another world,” he recalls. “And it has been huge fun for me to do something new after nearly 50 years in the business.”
He’s also delighted with the story’s modern-day twist. “I love the fact that it’s moved on, and that Peter has come to Los Angeles to meet his grandfather, who turns out to be an old hippie! That gives the story a fresh dynamic. And I like that he’s not in the least bit terrified by the wolf, when everybody else is freaking out.”
Giants Are Small, the boutique studio responsible for this bold take on Peter and the Wolf, are regularly hailed by critics and audiences alike for lavish stage shows using their signature fusion of theatre, live film-making, puppetry and music.
The new app and album are based on a 2008 production of the Prokofiev classic that Giants Are Small first staged in Los Angeles, with the LA Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Their creative team has now completely transformed that original staging, writing a prequel and developing a fascinating new visual world for the entire story.
First, hand-made models, designed by visual artist Doug Fitch, were created in their Brooklyn studios, then photographed and brought to life by film-maker/producer Edouard Getaz. Fitch then drew each character by hand, before a team of graphic designers integrated the drawings into the photographs. Finally, sound effects were woven into the orchestral score back in New York by Getaz and Fitch.
The album was recorded by Deutsche Grammophon with one of the world’s leading youth orchestras, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, directed by acclaimed conductor Alexander Shelley.
The Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood app, aimed at children aged five to ten, features the whole story, with stunning visuals amplified by more than a dozen engaging interactions in which children can explore Peter’s world and help him in his daring quest to rescue the wolf that has escaped from the zoo. Children can also explore the story’s musical world by accessing the 30-plus excerpts featured in the new prequel (from familiar works by Puccini and Wagner, Elgar and Grieg, Schumann and Satie, among others), as well as Prokofiev’s original full score.
A bonus section, featuring short videos, explores the making of the project, including how the music was recorded, and the fascinating creative process behind the visuals of the app.
PETER AND THE WOLF IN HOLLYWOOD
The Sergei Prokofiev classic
with a prequel by Giants Are Small
Featuring Prokofiev’s full score
and excerpts from other works by great composers
Narrated by Alice Cooper (English version) / Campino (German version)
Co-directed by Doug Fitch and Edouard Getaz
National Youth Orchestra of Germany
Conducted by Alexander Shelley
Prequel written by Stephen Greco and Molly Smith Metzler
Produced by Edouard Getaz and Frederic Gumy
Illustrations and Design by Doug Fitch
Photographs and Sound Design by Edouard Getaz
Lighting Design by Scot Gianelli
Music produced by Sid McLauchlan
Executive Producers: Angelika Meissner, Ute Fesquet and James R. Smith
Source: Deutsche Grammophon