The Bat Signal Beckons an FSO First
Experience the Gotham Guardian like never before at Batman (1989) in Concert on Saturday,
Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the FIM Presents series at Whiting Auditorium. Watch Batman unravel the mysteries of Gotham City as the Flint Symphony Orchestra performs the movie’s Grammy-nominated original score by Danny Elfman.
If you’ve never seen a live-to-picture performance of a classic film with a world-class live orchestra, you will not want to miss this first for FSO, in which the magic of the movies and the joy of the symphony will combine forces to capture the Caped Crusader in a whole new light.
The international Batman ’89 live concert tour kicked off in September 2023 to celebrate the film’s 35th anniversary. Released June 23, 1989, Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC superhero flick was the top-grossing film that year and has remained a fan-favorite for more than three decades. The picture was composer Danny Elfman’s first collaboration with director Tim Burton. One of its biggest hits was its theme song, written and performed by Prince. “Batman” has become an iconic piece for many generations.
“Tim Burton’s Batman with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton is the ultimate in cool,” exclaimed FIM President and CEO Rodney Lontine. “To me, it’s the most imaginative and magical of all the Batman films, plus everyone loves this movie. It set the bar high for future DC offerings.”
In the movie, the Dark Knight – defender of law and order in Gotham City – treads the shadow zone between right and wrong, fighting with only his skill in martial arts and his keen mind to defend the innocent and purge the memory of his parents’ brutal murder. He always keeps his true identity as millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne a closely guarded secret.
Elfman’s incredible symphonic score is a wonderful juxtaposition to the movie’s visuals, according to Lontine. Gotham City is stylish, dirty and corrupt, and that plays off the beautiful score by Elfman. He believes patrons will love it, whether they’re traditional symphony fans or coming because they love Batman and the Batman movies.
Gregg Powell has been an FSO musician since 1976. He has done this sort of performance before at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor and with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. In those productions, he helped play original scores for great films from the silent era as well as Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky while Eisenstein’s 1938 film was projected on the screen over the stage.
“The people who will attend the FIM Presents production will, no doubt, be Batman freaks, and they are going to be terribly excited by having a live orchestra on stage,” Powell, FSO principal bassist, says, “and we are stimulated by the interaction with our audience.”
The film stars Keaton as Batman, Nicholson as The Joker, Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale, Jack Palance as Carl Grissom and Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent. Nicholson received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, and the film won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
Tickets are available at tickets.thefim.org, 810-237-7333 or at FIM Ticket Center box office locations at Capitol Theatre and Whiting Auditorium.
- Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker after Jack Nicholson hesitated. Nicholson eventually took the role, and Williams was released. He refused all Warner Bros. productions until the studio apologized.
- Michael Keaton has claustrophobia. That, coupled with his inability to hear in the iconic Batsuit, allowed him to channel the correct mindset for playing Batman.
- It took two hours for makeup artists to transform Jack Nicholson into The Joker.
- The Batmobile was built on the body of a Chevy Impala. It was 20 ft. long and weighed one-and-a-half tons.
- The surgical tools used to reconstruct The Joker’s face are the same props as the dental tools used by Steve Martin on Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors (1986).
- Vicki Vale is the only civilian allowed in the original four-film franchise to get inside the Batmobile as a passenger.