'Nightmare' at the McNay

November 15, 2017

McNay Art Museum presents Behind The Screen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

 

 

San Antonio, TX – Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, the McNay Art Museum invites you to experience a treat both scary and heartwarming as it unveils for the first time in years Behind The Screen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

The exhibition, which last appeared at The McNay in 2013, features puppets and set pieces filmed for the 1993 cult classic stop-animation movie that has delighted generations of Halloween and Christmas fans around the world.

 

San Antonio native Robert L.B. Tobin acquired the pieces from a Southeby’s auction in New York City just two months after the film debuted in theaters. Nightmare tells the story of Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town, and his heartfelt-yet-misguided attempt to take the place of Santa Claus in Christmas Town. The film became a surprise hit and is now an annual movie-watching tradition, spanning the holidays from Halloween to New Year’s Day.

 

Visitors to this imaginative exhibit will get a rare opportunity to peel back the curtain and discover how camera crews shot 24 stills for each second of film. The trick-or-treating Lock, Shock, and Barrel have removable heads for different expressions. Holes in the Clubhouse floor indicate the positions of the bathtub that carries the three on a mission to kidnap “Sandy Claws.” Puppets of Jack Skellington, his faithful ghost dog Zero, and his Halloween Town rival Oogie Boogie also are among the collection.

 

For this exhibition, the McNay is putting Behind The Screen in the main Theater Arts gallery and staging the puppets and pieces more theatrically to help take visitors on a journey, says Jody Blake, Curator for the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts.

 

“As you enter Behind the Screen, you will feel like you are entering that important scene where Jack Skellington is wandering in the woods and he comes across that magic circle of trees representing gateways to different holiday-themed worlds,” Blake says. “You’ll see the Jack puppet in front of a mural of trees, and you’ll get the sense he’s leading you on his adventure.”

 

“And it’s appropriate that we feature this scene because the library shown in the movie is very reminiscent of the Tobin Library at the McNay, which houses Robert Tobin’s collection of rare books and theatre arts,” Blake said.

 

Enhanced lighting effects and an auditory soundscape evocative of composer Danny Elfman’s brilliant movie score will further place visitors to The McNay in Tim Burton’s highly original fantasy world.

 

Full of human warmth, verbal and visual wit, and technical virtuosity, Behind the Screen should win new fans for Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and for the McNay’s theatre arts collection.

 

This exhibition is organized by the McNay Art Museum and is a program of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

 

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