BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Love is the central theme in the holiday cult-classic film Love Actually, but getting this movie to the stage all started with the love of the soundtrack.
"I think a lot of people don't think of 2004 as being a big year for soundtracks but in fact Love Actually soundtrack was a big hit," said Anderson Davis.
According to Billboard it was. The album peaked at number two and spent 60 weeks on the chart.
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Anderson Davis is Love Actually Live's Adaptor and Director. He says it is the soundtrack's music that really drives each storyline.
"That marriage of how important the songs are to the soundtrack, to how they help tell the story, that was the genesis of the idea of taking that soundtrack and putting it in a starring role," said Davis.
The soundtrack is the glue that holds the show together, but Davis’s adaptation that is back at the Wallis for the second year in a row is a truly innovative theatrical cinematic experience. The set seamlessly intertwines the film and live action.
"Totally new genre this hybrid multimedia genre where the film and this musical adaptation of it, they coexist and weave together," said Davis.
Sharing the stage is a 15-piece orchestra and more than a dozen cast members. Five have returned to reprise their roles, including Carrie Manolakos who plays Natalie. Those familiar with the film remember Natalie as the character who works for the Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant.
"When she first meets him she can't stop swearing and she's one of my favorite characters just because she's so authentic and she's so real and she's from the dodgy end of town," said Manolakos.
One of the most popular songs off the soundtrack is Kelly Clarkson's “Trouble With Love.” Manolakos’s character belts the song to close out Act 1 and it's one of the biggest diva moments in the show.
"I love that song, I've always loved that song, and so to sing that with the most amazing vocal arrangements and a full orchestra is pretty spectacular," said Manolakos.
The turnout last year was so spectacular that it broke records at the Wallis for the most tickets sold and money made for a single show.
So for the Love Actually superfan and those who just love theater, Love Actually Live has something for everyone.
"Knowing they can re-experience the film, but also seeing it like they've never seen it before. Seeing it, as if for the first time. That has been one of the great joys of working on this production,” said Davis.
Hopefully you feel that joy in your fingers and in your toes, as Christmas is all around in Love Actually Live.