Dreamworks in Concert

Photo Jun 30, 8 30 18 PM

Performances at Wolf Trap rarely disappoint. As the National Park Service’s only park dedicated to the performing arts, the venue is a wonderful place to watch live music (when the weather cooperates, of course). We’re huge fans of Wolf Trap, and their summer concerts that combine films with live orchestral accompaniment have become a Roarbots tradition.

It began way back in 2008 when they screened The Fellowship of the Ring with a full orchestra. The next two years saw performances of The Two Towers and Return of the King. I was at all of them, and they were amazing. Since then, they’ve branched out, and some of the highlights have definitely been Pixar In Concert and Disney in Concert.

This year’s DreamWorks in Concert fits the mold of those two shows perfectly. In short, there was a full orchestra on stage, playing music timed to video clips projected on a big screen over the stage and outside the amphitheater for everyone sitting on the lawn.

Please, Wolf Trap, do more of these. (psst….Star Wars, just sayin’)

Photo Jun 30, 8 13 44 PM

The concert kicked off the National Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 summer season at Wolf Trap, but the DreamWorks in Concert performance will actually travel around during the coming months. So, if you’re near Houston, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Grand Rapids, Moscow, Melbourne, or Calgary, you may want to check in with the local symphony. More cities and dates will be added weekly, so keep an eye out.

While DreamWorks might sit in Disney’s shadow on several fronts (including music), that doesn’t mean their films don’t have spectacular scores. Indeed, many of the films (and the music represented at the concert) were composed by the likes of Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, and others.

Pieces alternated between montages dedicated to a single movie or franchise and medleys of music and clips from the surprisingly deep DreamWorks catalog. Crowd favorites (and highlights) included the montages from Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, and How to Train Your Dragon. Of course.

Other films and music on the ticket included Madagascar, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Rise of the Guardians, The Croods, and Shrek. Lesser-known films such as Bee Movie, Over the Hedge, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, also made an appearance.

While all of the music was great, I did find it curious that they chose to include music from some of those lesser-known films (and even less-memorable music) over something like The Prince of Egypt, which – although 18 years old at this point – probably has the best music of any DreamWorks film.

The Prince of Egypt might not be as instantly recognizable among kids as something like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon. But the music would’ve been amazing performed live, and they easily could’ve swapped out the Bee Movie segment for it. Absolutely nobody would’ve missed it.

Still, the show was a huge success, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep ’em coming, Wolf Trap!

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Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire, StarWars.com, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.