Turning Verizon Hall into a Movie Palace

Dec 19, 2016

It’s a world with a language of its own. The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall is being converted into a movie palace—with all of the broad audience appeal implied—but with key differences.

Steve Linder: In movie theaters, the sound of the music is dialed down and what we do, we dial up the music. So, we want to get as close to a cinematic experience as possible with a live orchestra. It’s a very delicate balance, but it’s doable.

DPS: That’s Steve Linder, producer of Film Concerts Live, which has brought in a three-film season of John Williams-scored movies to Verizon Hall. The process sounds simple. Just drop out the already-recorded music track in the film and put in the live orchestra. But in some concert halls, screen and sound equipment barely fit. Not so at Kimmel. So the future is loaded with possibilities.

SL: There was one producer who presented The Little Mermaid at the Hollywood Bowl, and that was a hybrid presentation that involved live singers.

[Music: West Side Story opening]

DPS: Yet there are many restrictions on what films are available. Some are licensed for a limited time frame. West Side Story, for one, required a huge amount of work because the film and the music were fused together and had to be severed with an operation that befits Siamese twins.

Then again, Home Alone isn’t a bad choice, particularly at a point in the holiday season when people are starting to get on each other’s nerves.

[Music: Home Alone, “I Made My Family Disappear”]