Cyndi Lauper & More Songwriters on ‘Central Park’s Standout Musical Moments (VIDEO)
Those who have been tuning into Central Park‘s first season have been treated to a plethora of showstopping musical moments created by some of the industry’s biggest stars.
From Cyndi Lauper‘s songs “Garbage Ballet” and “Rats” to Alan Menken’s “Spoiler Alert,” the animated musical comedy from Josh Gad and the team behind Bob’s Burgers (Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith) is full of catchy songs. That’s also thanks to the show’s musical team, which is comprised of composers and writers Kate Anderson, Elyssa Samsel, and Brent Knopf, with executive producer Frank Ciampi, music supervisor Patrick Dacey, and editor Tim Dacey.
Along with original compositions from the show’s permanent team, the freshman series boasts a slew of famous guest songwriters in addition to Lauper and Menken, including Sara Bareilles, Glenn Slater, Darren Criss, Aimee Mann, Meghan Trainor, Anthony Hamilton, Rafael Casal, and Utkarsh Ambudkar. And the show’s July 24 finale installment, “A Fish Called Snakehead,” feataures Fiona Apple and David Lucky as those guest songwriters with the track “New York Doesn’t Like Your Face.”
The series follows the Tillermans, a family comprised of parents Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Paige (Kathryn Hahn), and kids Molly (Kristen Bell), and Cole (Tituss Burgess) who live in a castle in New York City’s famed Central Park.
The Tillermans’ way of life is threatened by hotel heiress Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci) and her assistant Helen (Daveed Diggs), who hope to build condos in the sprawling space. Josh Gad voices Birdie, a musical narrator and park dweller. In the finale episode, Owen and his family will search for a snakehead fish in the Harlem Meer as Betsy works with a likability consultant. Some of the guest voices that will be heard in the installment include H. Jon Benjamin, Danny Burstein, Eugene Cordero, David Herman, Janelle James, Audra McDonald, Rory O’Malley, Natalie Palamides, Tony Shalhoub and Jessica St. Clair.
With each episode boasting anywhere from three to six original songs, Central Park has contributed plenty of unique tracks in its first season. Below, songwriters Cyndi Lauper, Alan Menken, Rafael Casal, and Anthony Hamilton reflect on the creative process and experience of creating their tunes for the show.
“Garbage Ballet” and “Rats” (Episode 4)
“I’m a New Yorker and I live just a few blocks from Central Park so it’s always been a touchstone for me. I’ve always been a big fan of Ennio Morricone and influenced by the music of his spaghetti westerns. I don’t know if you’ve ever come face to face with a New York City rat, but it’s exactly like the stand-offs in those Morricone movies! Same with our garbage. So when I wrote these songs — ‘Rats’ and ‘Garbage Ballet’ — I channeled that energy, had a little fun with it, and put my own twist on it.”
“Spoiler Alert” (Episode 5)
“Way back in the mystical days before coronavirus, Josh Gad told me about the series that he was co-creating, and asked if we would write a song and I said, ‘okay,’ so I want to tell you all about the song, except I can’t because the song is about nothing. The song is called ‘Spoiler Alert,’ and it’s the narrator telling you that he can’t tell you what’s actually going to be coming up in the story, but he’s very excited about it, except he can’t tell you anything, so it’s all just bleep and bleep and bleep and bleep and whoops and no, I can’t tell you! So, I’m very happy with this song that’s basically about nothing, and I hope you enjoy it, too.”
“The Park Is Mine” (Episode 3)
“I love a timely, fun song with some smart references. And nothing could feel more timely than a song about a false sense of ownership over a public space, sung out by both an overzealous political campaign and a party of older folks who feel like they own things because they were there first.”
“Live It Up Tonight” (Episode 9)
“I wrote ‘Live It Up Tonight’ for Central Park after I had a conversation with Josh and Loren. At that time, I started thinking about what the biggest & best party experience would feel like and when I heard the music that my co-writer, Charles Holloman was working on, it all came together like magic. I wanted to be in NYC, Johannesburg, South Africa; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, and Charlotte, North Carolina at New Years. This song made me feel all of that. I had so much fun and it’s an honor to be a part of such a great animated series on Apple TV+. Thank you, Ward Hake for bringing this opportunity to me.”
Don’t miss the latest tunes when Central Park‘s finale airs Friday, July 24 on Apple TV+.
Central Park, Season 1 Finale, Friday, July 24, Apple TV+