See 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' in Milwaukee with a Live Score

This exciting event is back by popular demand.

This Sunday, the Riverside Theater will present two screenings of Tim Burton’s popular 1993 stop-motion film “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” complete with composer Danny Elfman’s spook-tacular live score performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Screenings will take place at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Riverside hosted two “Nightmare” shows in 2017, and, due to positive reception, decided to bring the playfully scary, family-friendly event back this year.

“It’s a cult classic movie and the perfect fit for the MSO, because the score is so great,” said Sara Peronto, public relations director for The Pabst Theater Group. “It’s a fun way to celebrate Halloween.”

Tickets for the event were still available at the time of this writing and start at $35.50, with family four-packs beginning at $99.

The “Nightmare” film event will feature themed treats and chilling handmade decorations by local “Nightmare” enthusiast Paul Tennessen, owner of Bay View’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” house on the 2700 block of S. Logan Avenue, including a Christmas Town photo station and Oogie Boogie’s Lair. “The theater is going to look really cool,” Peronto said.

Decorations by Paul Tennessen. Submitted photo

Tennessen’s creativity and dedication to the film have inspired a block-wide movement. Every year from September to mid-January, Logan Ave. homes are decked out in true “Nightmare Before Christmas” spirit, with decorations changing every week to reflect the movie’s chronology. The block attracts many visitors every year. “It’s become this great tradition,” Peronto said. Those interested can follow updates on the block’s Facebook page.

The Riverside has partnered with the MSO for several other film/live music events, such as a showing of Disney’s 1989 animated film “The Little Mermaid,” the 2003 romantic comedy “Love Actually,” and the 1994 thriller “Jurassic Park.” This holiday season, the Riverside will present “Home Alone in Concert,” two screenings of John Hughes’ 1990 holiday comedy at 7:30 p.m. November 30 and the other 2:30 p.m. December 1. The MSO will perform John Williams’ endearing score.

The Riverside will also present “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™” in concert with the MSO for three shows at 8 p.m. December 13, 8 p.m. December 14 and 1 p.m. December 15.

Peronto feels that these types of events help make symphony concerts “very accessible” to all ages and help dispel misconceptions that concerts are boring and highbrow. Live scores can also significantly enhance a filmgoing experience. “When you hear the symphony play (a film score) live, it’s a whole different experience,” she added. “If you’re a newbie to the symphony, it’s a good gateway.”