Radiohead's Thom Yorke Composing Original Music for Broadway Revival - Rolling Stone
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Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Composing Original Music for Broadway Revival

Musician experimented with 1970s synthesizers for October production of Harold Pinter’s 1971 play, ‘Old Times’

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Radiohead mastermind Thom Yorke is making his Broadway composing debut with a revival of Harold Pinter's 'Old Times'

Dave J. Hogan/Getty

Thom Yorke is making his Broadway debut – behind the curtain, anyway. The Radiohead mastermind composed an original score for the Roundabout Theater Company revival of Harold Pinter’s 1971 play, Old Times, which will open in October at New York’s American Airlines Theater, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Yorke wrote the score – which includes intro and exit music, along with transitions – during six months of e-mail correspondence with director Douglas Hodge, as the pair narrowed down the sonic elements. Yorke worked extensively with 1970s synthesizers in order to fit the play’s era, The New York Times reports. 

“It’s been a pleasure working with Doug on my first stage production,” Yorke said in a statement. “I’ve enjoyed exploring through music the script’s themes of love and memory as well as Pinter’s rhythms, twists and turns.”

“I’d say something like, ‘It describes a ribbon of light on the horizon. Can you do that?’ He’d say, ‘Got it,'” Hodge told The New York Times. “He’d send me an e-mail of some music he’d written, and it would be some primeval, unusual thing. The sort of neurosis within his music certainly has elucidated elements of the compulsive repetition of the play.”

Hodge – a veteran stage actor who won a 2010 Tony for his lead performance in La Cage aux Folles – will make his directorial Broadway debut with Old Times. Clive Owen will star in his own Broadway debut alongside Eve Best and Kelly Reilly. Hodge says Yorke won’t perform the compositions live, telling the Times, “The last thing he’d want is that it becomes a Thom Yorke show.”

“The music Thom has written for Old Times gives an immediacy and a ‘now-ness’ to the show,” Hodge said in a statement. “The play itself is about memory and love – Thom’s music works backwards and forwards and plays with time and repetition in the same way Pinter does. In true Thom Yorke style, the music is epic, heartbreaking, irresistible and complex. I’m hopeful this collaboration will result in a new kind of theatergoer coming to our show.”

Old Times will begin previews on September 17th, premiere October 6th and run until November 29th. 

In This Article: Radiohead, Thom Yorke


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