Aero­naut Brewing Co. to bring a mu­si­cal ‘Peter Pan’ to life.

You can fi­nally see Peter Pan take flight — while drink­ing a flight of your own.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - SEAN BURNS @SeanMBurns

You might not just have had a few too many if you hap­pen to spot Tinker­bell flut­ter­ing around the Aero­naut Brewing Co.’s tap­room this Sun­day af­ter­noon. The Somerville beer-meis­ters are host­ing a spe­cial screen­ing of 1924’s silent “Peter Pan” adap­ta­tion, with New Hamp­shire-based ac­com­pa­nist Jeff Rap­sis pro­vid­ing a live mu­si­cal score.

Any­one who’s been to the Somerville Theatre’s monthly Si­lents Please se­ries has seen the for­mi­da­ble sight of Rap­sis in ac­tion, play­ing his heart out along to the im­ages on an 88-key syn­the­sizer, con­jur­ing a mas­sive orches­tral sound.

“I some­times tell peo­ple what I do is the mu­si­cal equiv­a­lent of can­dle-mak­ing or bot­tle-blow­ing,” he ex­plains. “In terms of pop cul­ture, it’s kind of a Stur­bridge Vil­lage thing.”

But it’s not like there was sheet mu­sic for each film passed down to study over the gen­er­a­tions. In the early days, mu­si­cal scores were left to the dis­cre­tion of the ex­hibitors. So Rap­sis does what or­gan­ists did at the­aters way back in the 1920s: He im­pro­vises.

“The se­lec­tion of spe­cific tex­tures is very much in­stinc­tual, done on the fly as the movie is play­ing. Each film screen­ing has its own vibe — it’s not just the film, but also the acous­tics of the venue, the en­ergy level of the au­di­ence and even what I had for din­ner that night.”

Just don’t go in ex­pect­ing the plin­kety-plink pi­ano so of­ten as­so­ci­ated with silent films. “My method is to try to cre­ate movie mu­sic that re­flects all the ex­pe­ri­ence we’ve had in film scor­ing in the past cen­tury. It’s not authen­tic 1920s mu­sic, but re­flects our ex­po­sure to ev­ery­one from Bernard Her­rmann to Danny Elf­man. I think that helps an au­di­ence to­day con­nect with a film from an­other era.”

Rap­sis av­er­ages about 100 per­for­mances a year, and re­mains op­ti­mistic about au­di­ences com­ing to­gether to en­joy old movies even if it may

seem un­fash­ion­able in this stay-at-home dig­i­tal age. “Re­mem­ber, these films were made when the only place to see them was in

a theater, usu­ally with a lot of other peo­ple,” he notes. “And that’s a very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence than watch­ing a film on your home en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter with just you and your dog.

“To re­ally un­der­stand why peo­ple first fell in love with the movies, you need to put Humpty Dumpty back to­gether again and recre­ate the whole ex­pe­ri­ence: the big screen, the live mu­sic, and, most im­por­tantly, the shared ex­pe­ri­ence of the au­di­ence.”


The 1924 clas­sic ren­di­tion of “Peter Pan” will screen at Aero­naut on Sun­day evening.

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