5 Scarily Good Moments From 'Nightmare Before Christmas' Live

Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara & Danny Elfman
Randall Michelson

Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara and Danny Elfman performing "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2016.

For the second year, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas was presented at the Hollywood Bowl — in concert, live to film. The Oct. 28 show (the first of three, as it continues on Oct. 29 and 30) screened the classic 1993 film and was accompanied by a live performance of its score by an orchestra conducted by John Mauceri.

The star attraction of the evening was likely the vocalists that were on hand to reprise their singing roles in the film — including the film’s composer, Danny Elfman. Before the show even began, however, concertgoers could pose for pictures in themed photo booths and partake in trick-or-treating.

1. Jack’s Back – Elfman — the singing voice of Jack Skellington in the film — led the show with his delightfully dynamic voice. The Grammy Award winner (and four-time Academy Award nominee) got the evening off to a grand start with “Jack’s Lament” and “What’s This?” and wowed the crowd with his vocal acrobatics in “Poor Jack.”

This could be the final time Elfman takes on the role of Skellington for Halloween at the Hollywood Bowl, too. In an interview with KPCC, he said “the word annual rubs me wrong” and suggested that he disliked the idea of the expectation of a yearly performance.

2. Lock, Shock and Barrel: Live! – Elfman not only sang Skellington’s parts of the film, but also of Barrel, the mischievous trick-or-treater that is one-third of the no-good trio Lock, Shock and Barrel. Paul Reubens and Catherine O’Hara joined Elfman, also reprising their roles, as Lock and Shock. It was a delight to see the three of them having a ball singing “Kidnap the Sandy Claws.”

3. Ken Page's Oogie Boogie – The menacing soul of “Oogie Boogie’s Song” was brought to life by its original performer, Ken Page. He received a warm welcome from the audience, and made the most of his three minutes of stage time.

4. All Stitched Up – For O’Hara’s tender performance of the wistful “Sally’s Song,” she had stitches painted on her neck — matching those of her character Sally.

5. Pre-Show & Post-Show Treats – The first Silly Symphony short film, The Skeleton Dance, was screened as pre-show entertainment, drawing an “aww” from the crowd. It was followed by a showcase of Burton’s concept art for the film, set to highlights of the movie’s score. In total, there was probably about 14 minutes of pre-show bonus content before the film began. That makes sense, considering the film itself is a pretty short feature – just 76 minutes including credits. Thus, the producers of the concert likely had to figure out a way to fill out a full evening of entertainment. In addition to the pre-show shorts, there was a 20-minute intermission, which was followed by a five-minute performance from a live band.

After the credits rolled, Elfman performed his Oingo Boingo hit “Dead Man’s Party” with the band’s guitarist Steve Bartek.