A new symphonic cinema tribute to Hollywood legend Gene Kelly to premiere at two Scottish venues next week.
The Gene Kelly Legacy, Inc and Warner Bros Consumer Products are pleased to announce the World Premiere of Gene Kelly: A Life in Music, a new symphonic cinema production honouring the work of legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly.
Warner Bros Presents Gene Kelly: A Life in Music premieres on 13 April at Usher Hall in Edinburgh and 14 April at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Neil Thomson.
It combines the music of a live symphony orchestra with clips from some of Kelly’s best-known movies, including Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Brigadoon, Summer Stock, Les Girls, It’s Always Fair Weather, his joyful dance with Jerry the Mouse (from Tom and Jerry) in Anchors Aweigh, plus rarely-seen numbers from Kelly’s television specials.
Written and hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s wife and official biographer, this show brings Gene Kelly to life with his own insights and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of these memorable works.
While most people think of dance when they think of Kelly, music was central to his work. It inspired him and, in many ways, defined him. Working closely with his colleagues, Kelly collaborated with a host of celebrated composers, arrangers and musicians to create some of the most iconic scenes in film history.
These giants of the music world—the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Andre Previn, Henry Mancini—will be highlighted along with several “unsung” heroes who made important contributions to the landmark films.
Patricia said: ‘I am very happy that this special show is premiering in Scotland with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’
‘It is especially fitting, since Gene loved this part of the world – not only for its natural beauty but for its significant contribution to literature and dance.’
Gene Kelly travelled by train from London to Edinburgh in 1953, hoping to shoot his film Brigadoon on location in the Highlands. He stayed at Glasgow’s Central Hotel and at the Caledonian in Edinburgh.
Though MGM ultimately opted to film the movie on stages at their Culver City studio, according to his wife, Kelly ‘never lost his love for this place.’ Gene Kelly returned to Scotland in 1956, when his film Invitation to the Dance was chosen to open the Edinburgh Film Festival, a gala event at the New Victoria Cinema attended by HRH The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret.
As he said in an interview at the time: ‘I have always been a confirmed believer in the Film Festival as an incentive to higher standards of creative work, and anyone who has been to Edinburgh will tell you that every visitor leaves with the resolve to do better things.’
Since the original orchestrations for the famous MGM musicals were destroyed back in 1969, world-renowned composer conductor John Wilson has meticulously re-created the scores, often spending hours to master a few bars of music.
As with other symphonic cinema shows, the music from the original soundtrack has been carefully ‘scrubbed’ from the film clips, leaving the singing and dialogue intact; thus giving audiences the exciting opportunity to see Gene Kelly dancing on a big screen accompanied by a live orchestra.