Josh Groban to sing in Utah movie theater near you
On the night before his new album "All That Echoes" appears in stores, classical-pop crossover singer Josh Groban will star in a live screening that will play at select Utah theaters.
"You feel like you've done everything you could do," the 31-year-old baritone said in a phone interview about past promotions. But a live screening seemed like a new opportunity.
The 90-minute program, called "Josh Groban Live: All That Echoes," will feature Groban as he performs hits from his 12-year career, highlighted by selections from his new album, which will be released on Tuesday.
Theater audiences will be the first to hear these new songs performed live. They can also tweet requests for Groban's playlist, performed at New York City's Allen Room overlooking Central Park. Groban will answer fan questions submitted via Twitter and text messages before the live event.
The event is produced by National CineMedia's Fathom, the company that broadcasts Metropolitan Opera shows and other special events and concerts to movie theaters around the country. Past screenings have included the 25th-anniversary concert of "Les MisÃ©rables," featuring Utah's Alfie Boe, and performances from Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Celine Dion.
Groban's film-screen appearance is "a very special event created just for him," said Dan Diamond, senior vice president of business development of National CineMedia and NCM Fathom Events. The event was scheduled the day before his album release and 10 days before Valentine's Day.
Groban will debut songs from his new album, produced by longtime Green Day producer Rob Cavallo, now chairman of Warner Bros. Records. The set list for the concert remains hush-hush, but it might include renditions of the traditional Irish song "She Moved Through the Fair" and a cover of "Falling Slowly," the signature song from the film and musical "Once," both covers from the new album.
Groban said "She Moved Through the Fair" was inspired by a YouTube video he stumbled across one night that featured Richard Thompson one of Groban's favorite artists performing the song. (In a strange coincidence, Thompson's new album "Electric" will be released the same day as Groban's album.)
"Falling Slowly," which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song, is another highlight of the album. Perhaps its inclusion is a nod to the Broadway musical, for Groban is the butt of a good-natured jab in the musical "Once," where a character says he has to cool his ardor by either jumping into a cold shower or listening to Groban.
Groban, who has a recurring role on "The Office" and who made a memorable cameo in Jimmy Kimmel's song "F-ing Ben Affleck," is an affable, self-deprecating musician who graciously introduced "Once" at the Tony Awards. (As for Affleck, "Argo" is, understandably, Groban's pick for Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars, he said.)
Groban's previous album was "Illuminations," produced by acclaimed rock-and-hip-hop mastermind Rick Rubin, so picking Cavallo to produce his sixth wasn't entirely unpredictable. "He came to my show, and it was nice not to have to explain to him what I did and where I wanted to go," Groban said of meeting Cavallo for the first time.
Groban said they shared the same adjectives when they talked about what he wanted for his next record: the same spontaneous spirit of his arena shows.
Every time Groban works on a song in the studio, the singer envisions his songs connecting with thousands of people standing in front of him.
As part of the interview, Groban answered four questions that his fans have already tweeted:
Would you ever sing at the San Antonio Rodeo?
What is your favorite cheese?
(Long pause.) I love cheese. (Another long pause.) Feta.
If you could have dinner with five people, alive or dead, who would they be?
As long as Bob Marley is there, I'll be fine.
What do you always need at a movie Raisinets, popcorn or something else?
I always tend to wear diapers. I don't want to miss a thing.
Josh Groban Live: "All That Echoes"
When • Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets • $12 to $14 at FathomEvents.com or box office
Where • Salt Lake 16, 125 E. 3300 South, South Salt Lake; Cinemark 24 West Jordan, 7301 Jordan Landing Blvd., West Jordan; Union Heights 16, 7670 Union Park Ave., Midvale; and more. For a complete list of theater locations, visit FathomEvents.com.
Info • To submit questions to Groban, tweet the question with the hashtag #AskJosh Review: Groban's 'Echoes' crosses over successfully
CD • Rick Rubin produced Josh Groban's previous album, and he pushed Groban to develop his writing skills. The result was 11 songs co-written by Groban. The 31-year-old classical-pop crossover singer again makes the decision to write he co-wrote seven songs on his new album, "All That Echoes" but he also includes well-chosen covers that provide an illuminating portrait of who he is at this point in his career as well as a glimpse at what seeing him live is like. "Below the Line," co-written by Groban, is a rousing anthem that was written after he was asked to subsist on $1.50 for one day a task he fulfilled, living on a can of beans while living on the street. Songs sung in Italian and Spanish provide the serious-musician cred, but he is most compelling when he sings "Falling Slowly" from the film and musical "Once," the traditional Irish song "She Moved Through the Fair," Jimmy Webb's "The Moon's Harsh Mistress" and Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)." Producer Rob Cavallo, famous for producing Green Day, never lets Groban's sentimental side overwhelm the album. The results despite "All That Echoes' " string-laden accompaniment often lean more toward pop than classical. This is a successful crossover effort that should earn respect from rock fans as well as your grandmother.