Classic fairy tales get a modern musical makeover with the new online series Outta The Books — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The brainchild of American composer/ producer Brian Banks and Canadian author/playwright Erica Ehm, Outta The Books — which recently kicked off with Chapter 1: A Wicked Competition — offers a fun, fresh musical take on long-loved fables by showcasing storylines from previously overlooked characters.
“The characters from Outta The Books are all familiar character types from the classic tales, they’re just not the famous ones,” Banks explains. “They’re your everyday, run-of-the-mill Fairy, Big Bad Wolf, Witch, Prince. Fairy tales can be mirrors to help us all understand our present lives. They’re also there to educate all children as to how the world works, so using regular characters to retell classic tales helps show that anybody can do great things.
“And because Outta The Books is a band, we’re also teaching teamwork. This project is rooted in musical theatre and designed to entertain, but I have always believed in the power of art to educate and connect,” he adds. “I hope people will see that these wonderful stories are incredibly relevant in the current complex and divided world we find ourselves living in.”
The project taps a noteworthy roster of sought-after actors — including Karl Queensborough and Carl Spencer, esteemed cast members of the London production of Hamilton. Additional contributions abound, including character designer Emily Carew-Woodard, editor Johnnie Semerad, costume and prop designer Charlotte Banks and more.
And speaking of our complex world: An inventive multi-platform digi-series was not always the plan for Outta The Books; initially slated as a theatre production for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the show was adapted to accommodate COVID-19. All eight chapters were filmed entirely on iPhones, with the post-production magic of green screens. Actors completed their own make-up, lighting, and camera work, and Banks, director Neil Fisher and Ehm monitored each shoot remotely via Zoom from their bases in Los Angeles, Liverpool, and Toronto.