Theatre to Film: Mitchell Marcus on the creation of our UNCOVERED musical film
At the start of 2020, Fine-Furneaux Director of Music Reza Jacobs and I began planning UNCOVERED: DOLLY & ELVIS. We were so excited for the 14th edition of UNCOVERED and planned really exciting changes to the usual format. Little did we know that much bigger changes were in store.
In many ways, it feels like UNCOVERED was built for this moment in time. All around the world, people are posting videos of pop songs that suddenly take on new meaning in a world on edge. A quick scroll through my Facebook feeds highlights artists who have been posting one song per day for the last 152 days, Jennifer Hudson bringing new meaning to Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” at the Democratic National Convention and a beautiful interpretive dance to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Everyone is discovering what UNCOVERED fans have known for years — when you put pop music into a storytelling context, its emotional resonance grows exponentially. As such, we knew that we had to find a way to bring UNCOVERED to audiences this year. Rather than staging it for an audience of 50, or broadcasting it in its usual format, we chose to build an UNCOVERED for this specific moment, and conceive it for a new medium – our first UNCOVERED film.
By creating a series of professionally recorded music videos, we can bring UNCOVERED to our audiences in a fresh way. We can get up close and personal with the artists to showcase every nuance in their performance. We can use different locations in the city of Toronto to put songs into a more specific context. And, rather than focusing on the musical catalogue of a specific artist, we can gather a collection of iconic songs that feel newly resonant in our current times.
Strangely, I feel very excited and grateful for the chance to try something totally different. We get to reimagine 10 incredible songs of hope, change and resilience from artists like Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Jann Arden, Carole King and Bob Dylan. We get to bring outstanding local artists like Jackie Richardson, Divine Brown, Sara Farb, Hailey Gillis, Bruce Dow, and Andrew Penner into people’s hearts and homes. And we get the chance to introduce UNCOVERED to audiences across the world without the geographic barrier of a physical location.
I hope you will join us for UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART this fall. While I pray this is our one and only digital UNCOVERED concert before we return to live gatherings, I also know that it will be a healing, inspiring, and astonishing hour of musical programming that will remind you why music and outstanding performers can be the perfect antidote for even the most challenging circumstances.