Illustration of Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Fans of the cult-favorite film have a lot to look forward to this Halloween season. (Illustration by Leigh Desorcy, Montserrat College of Art)

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Live Show Is Making a Comeback This Halloween

After a three-year hiatus, the cast of the fan-favorite spooky holiday movie is returning to perform their iconic roles in person.

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Illustration of Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas

After a three-year hiatus, the cast of the fan-favorite spooky holiday movie is returning to perform their iconic roles in person.

‘Tis the season to finally rewatch Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Whether fans think it’s a Halloween flick or a Christmas movie, both sides can agree that the upcoming return of the film’s live performance is pretty exciting.

According to Danny Elfman, the composer of the movie’s soundtrack, the show was originally meant to take place in October 2020, but was put on hold due to the pandemic, meaning that it was last held all the way back in 2018 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Recognition

For anyone unfamiliar with “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the movie has long been considered a cult favorite, especially among Disney fans. While a Disney film today, Disney first released the movie in 1993 through Touchstone Pictures, as at the time Disney thought the movie would scare kids too much. It’s not surprising, though, that they would come to this conclusion, especially since the movie came out after films like “Beauty and the Beast and “Aladdin,” which feature a more lighthearted tone and animation style.

Regardless, many kids at the time watched the movie and still look back on it fondly. This is apparent through the variety of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” merchandise, including apparel, games, figurines and more, which are still being produced and sold in stores today. For video game fans, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” even makes an appearance as a playable world in the Kingdom Hearts series.

Disney has also recognized the film’s cult status and acknowledges it through myriad actions, such as retheming the Haunted Mansion ride at their Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland parks every year starting in September and lasting until the end of the holiday season in January.

 

Over the years, Disney has also released special editions of the movie on DVD, Blu-ray and Disney+ and is now working on an official sequel; the sequel, however, will be released as a book instead of a subsequent film.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas: Live-To-Film Concert Experience”

Likewise, Disney continues to recognize the popularity of the film through their live concert experiences. The live performances hosted by Disney Music Group (DMG) are a recent project, as the first one was only held in October of 2015. It’s officially dubbed the “Live-To-Film Concert Experience” and consists of the actual voice actors and actresses from the movie reprising their roles and performing the songs live on stage. Other performances were held in 2016 and 2018 and are now coming back for this Halloween.

There is something special about being able to see fan-favorite songs performed live by the original voice actors. It was probably hard to imagine 10 years ago that fans would actually get to experience the music from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in live concert form. The movie has always been seen as relatively niche compared to films from the Disney Renaissance era, so for Disney to dedicate a whole performance to the movie is pretty remarkable. As each song begins and the voice actors take the stage to sing, the energy coming from the audience is palpable. The love and care the actors put into their performances show and cannot be understated.

Looking at the Ticketmaster website, it’s not completely clear what the official lineup will be for all of the shows at the time of writing. The event will be held in different cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Kingston, New York. More featured guests may be announced, but so far a few voices have been released for the Los Angeles show:

Danny Elfman

Elfman is the creative genius behind the music of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” He has composed music for over 100 films over the past 30 or so years, including Tim Burton’s “Batman” and “Silver Linings Playbook” as well as TV shows like “The Simpsons.” He is the voice of Jack Skellington during the musical acts in the movie, and he will be reprising his melodic role in the concert.

Billie Eilish

Eilish is a singer/songwriter and Grammy award winner who recently rose to fame in 2015. She is confirmed to be a special guest on the show and will be performing “Sally’s Song,” which was originally performed by Catherine O’Hara in the film. “Sally’s Song” is a lovely yet melancholic track, so it will be interesting to see Eilish’s rendition of the piece.

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Yankovic is a longtime singer and musician best known for his parodies of contemporary songs. He makes light of current pop music trends and often combines his lyrical witticism with his own style of music, emphasizing the humorous aspect of the songs. Yankovic will be voicing “Lock,” a trick-or-treater antagonist from the movie who was originally voiced by Paul Reubens.

Ken Page

Page is the original voice of “Oogie Boogie,” the main antagonist of the film and Jack Skellington’s nemesis. His character is quite boisterous, and his dynamic vocal range is especially notable in “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” Although Oogie Boogie is the villain, he might be the most popular character in the film besides Jack.

Due to popular demand, Disney decided to add a second showing to the Los Angeles Banc of California Stadium portion of the live performance. The first show will take place on Oct. 29 and the second on Oct. 31.

As far as health checks go, either a negative test or proof of vaccination is required to attend the show. Wearing masks — not just Halloween ones — will also be strongly recommended. Tickets for the show can be bought through Ticketmaster or Vivid Seats.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas: Live-To-Film Concert Experience” is definitely a unique opportunity any big fan should try to see at least once. As if hearing the movie’s soundtrack performed by a live orchestra isn’t enough, the original voice actors and other special celebrity guests perform their respective songs live. Whether it’s a Halloween special or a Christmas treat, watching the live performance is certain to make you remember the magic of seeing the movie for the first time all over again.

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Xochitl Menjivar

San Francisco State University
Computer Engineering, Minor in Technical and Professional Writing

I’m passionate about technology and all of the impact it has on society. I also like roller-skating, going to the beach and playing with my dogs. I’m always drinking too much coffee.

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