The Musical Minds Behind the Animated Sitcom 'Central Park'


Music is one of the more important but overlooked aspects that goes into making a successful piece of media. A good song or musical score can set the tone, establish character, change the mood, and even create characters entirely. Without John Williams' score, the shark in Jaws is just a camera going through the water. A great score can be a character unto itself.

Heck, you could write an entire doctoral thesis on all of the ways John Williams and his music have changed the film industry forever.

Of all the people working in music for TV and film, one of the more impressive duos is Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, who did the work for the new hit show Central Park, as well as the music for the popular Disney short Olaf's Frozen Adventure. They were recent panelists in this year's online rendition of San Diego Comic-Con, talking about their experiences in writing music for those two projects.

Their first foray into wanting to compose music was when they heard the song "Taylor the Latte Boy" and found out that it was written by a woman, which told them that they could break into the industry. It helped drive them toward the success that they have today. Their current passion project is Central Park, starring Olaf voice actor Josh Gad. As Kate Anderson said, "Knowing who our cast was was really, really helpful, and of course, reading the script and learning about each character's personality." They put a lot of work into making sure that each musical theme fit with the characters and their wants and needs to help the audience connect.

Samsel agreed, adding, "it was such a joy to be able to give each character their own sound and like in a true musical, carry that through 'til the end of the series, so that the whole series is like a giant musical but each episode is also a mini-musical. So it couldn't have been more of a pleasure to write for those characters."

Of course, the experiences of working for a show like Central Park and a massive corporation like Disney have their differences, though both had their own advantages. According to Samsel, "both have been the most incredible writing experiences of our careers... When we were writing for Disney, Disney is such a well-oiled machine at this point when it comes to musicals. They have their format; they have their incredible music department, and they just know exactly how to conveyor belt out... a stunning project that everybody would say, 'Oh, this belongs in the Disney family.'"

She went on about how Josh Gad approached them to create the TV musical, and the collection of talent therein "basically stepped into the wild west. No one knew what it was going to be." But she continues saying that as they went along, the process became its own conveyor belt. Anderson agreed, saying that it was like trying to do ten times the songs at ten times the speed with ten percent of the resources.

It makes sense. Disney is the most powerful media company to ever exist, with a perfectly identifiable feel, look, and sound. They have been doing what they have been doing for almost ninety years. With Central Park, they are starting from scratch, with their characters, stories, and music to go with it being completely new. Given the passion with which they created their show, combined with the second season, it is safe to say that they have succeeded in their endeavor.

Music can make or break a piece of media. With the right sound, a movie or show can become iconic. Many TV viewers know the music for The Office, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond. With the talent behind it, Central Park could very well be added to that list.


Source(s): YouTube

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